A year-long program

Individualized to meet you where you are
in your farm business journey

​2022-2023 Cohort Applications Now Open!

Starting a farm is a formidable challenge, but keeping a farm business going, growing and thriving is even harder! The Journeyperson Program is designed for farmers who have been independently farming for 3 or more years, and are serious about operating farm businesses in the Southern Appalachian region. This program will give you the space and time to work on your business while making connections that deepen your peer-to-peer support.

Announcement: The upcoming Journeyperson course is now available AT NO COST! Due to some timely grant funding, we can offer this in-depth farmer training for farmers in years 3-7 with no associated tuition fee! The course consists of monthly cohort meet-ups and 2-3 in-depth workshops, plus mentorship!

In addition, a select number of participants will also receive matched FUNDS for your farm savings account (Savings Incentive Program) and money to spend on a professional development opportunity of your choosing! Want to attend a workshop on livestock management? OGS will contribute towards that fee! Are you saving money for a farm asset? OGS will contribute up to a certain amount to that investment. 

Limited spots are available for the full program, and those who want to be eligible for our Savings Incentive Program and the professional development funds must commit to participating in all aspects of the program. Those who are not selected for the full program are invited and encouraged to attend the monthly cohorts!

Qualifications

 

Eligible applicants have:

  • A minimum of three years independently farming 
  • A demonstrated commitment to farming in the Southern Appalachian region
  • Production goals of feeding their community and region
  • A demonstrated commitment to sustainable practices

 

Although not required, The Journeyperson Program is best suited for applicants that have the following: 

  • Secure medium to long-term land tenure (such as owned land or a lease contract)
  • A focus on livestock and/or crop production for direct-to-consumer and/or wholesale markets
  • An established farm business that needs support to refine their vision, apply whole-farm planning practices and willingness to fully utilize the resources of the program

Program Components:

 

OGS offers you a comprehensive package of support over 12 months:

3 Workshops/Trainings (November, January, February)

    • Improving Farm Communications November 6th and 20th, 2022 with Steve Torma
    • Holistic Financial Planning: January with Cree Bradley of Chelsea Morning Farm
    • Advanced Enterprise Development: February with Holly Whiteside of Against the Grain Farm
  • Mentorship: Work with an experienced Farmer Mentor for individualized one-on-one support
  • Seasonal monthly virtual cohort meetings
  • WNC CRAFT Farmer Network: Free Membership and mentoring in a regional farmer network
  •  Spring Conference: Free Admission to our 3 day conference
  • Enrollment in our Savings Incentive Program where you receive matching funds for your farm savings account
  • Identify & connect with Regional resource providers (lenders, land access organizations, small business centers)
  • Discount Offers to OGS Services: 
    • 15% off of Sustainability Coaching & Consulting program for farm design and systems development
    • 15% off of any other OGS workshops

What is unique about this program?

Participants can use this program as a tangible step toward achieving their farm goals, and make significant contributions to the agricultural community and economy. This program is designed to give tailored guidance and support for your farm business to answer questions of: scale, market access, land access, risk management, understanding cash flow, and enterprise innovation. You will leave this program with a responsive, adaptable business plan to help your farm achieve long-term farm viability and resilience.

 

Hear from previous Journeyperson participants:

  • “We’ve talked a lot about pricing in the Journeyperson program. I think these frank discussions with my peers have made us feel less alone as small business people struggling to balance these concerns and to find an equitable pricing structure.” -Gwen and Jay from Black Trumpet Farm

 

  • “OGS’s Journeyperson program has been helpful for me in many ways but I must say that my favorite part has been connecting with, learning from, and laughing with farmers working through similar challenges.” -Liz Thatchmore from Thatchmore Farm

 

  • “Starting out, you have a million questions and having someone you can call is invaluable. In both Farm Beginnings and Journeyperson, I had a peer cohort but what I really needed was advice for managing soil fertility and weeds on my farm. It’s tempting to spend money on shiny new equipment and it can also be intimidating, but Eileen (my mentor) helped me identify the essentials to make it work.” -Ed from Tiny Bridge Farm

 

For questions, please contact our Director of Programs & Human Resources, Nicole DelCogliano, at nicole@organicgrowersschool.org

OGS Farmer Programs are made possible by our farmer network and our funding partners: Blooming Prairie Foundation, Community Foundation of WNC, CLIF Bar Family Foundation, Cornell Douglas Foundation, Harry Chapin Foundation, New Visions Foundation, Patagonia, Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, UNFI Foundation, Walnut Cove Members Association, WNC Bridge Foundation, and USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Award #2021-70033-35717. Our Growth Partners (year-round program support) are: Carolina Farm Credit, Buchi,  Living Web Farms, and Gaia Herbs. Our Media Sponsors are WNCW, Asheville FM and Blue Ridge Public Radio.

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