Erica was a HUGE supporter of my farm and was a major part in my expansion. Without the support and help from her, I am not sure I could have done this!

Erica Shanks

Farm Mentee, Farm Owner at Bearded Bird Farms

The purpose of the Mentor Services program is to support beginning and intermediate farmers by partnering them with experienced regional farmers who can provide them with one-on-one practical planning skills in the areas of:

  • farm design and production
  • marketing and business development
  • systems management
  • connecting them to the regional farming community

By serving as Mentors, regional farmers will be able to pass on the skills and knowledge that they possess to other farmers and help to build collaboration and community among the farming community. 

Who is eligible to apply

We are looking for farmers who have been farming at least 1 year and/or have worked as a farm manager.

Preference is given to graduates of Farm Beginnings® (or other relevant farmer training programs) and members of CRAFT

Each applicant will be evaluated on an individual basis. Farming partners who apply jointly will receive one mentor.

We are also offering a limited number of mentorships focused on forest farming, in partnership with Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition. These will be offered as free or reduced fee mentorships. If you are interested, you can indicate that on your application.

Learn more about Forest Farming from ABFFC.

Participant Expectations

  • Complete application and interview;
  • Respectful and timely communication with Mentor and Coordinator;
  • Complete within one year
  • Monthly digital tracking of time;
  • Quarterly check in with Mentorship Program Coordinator.

Program Details

Schedule:

  1. Application will be accepted on a rolling basis. 
  2. Matched with a mentor  within one month of acceptance

Components of the Program: 

  • One on one Mentorship with an experienced farmer of up to 30 hours ($1000 value)
  • Free or reduced fee mentorship for Forest Farming
  • Access to Farm Beginnings® Coordinator for technical assistance (invaluable!)

Discount Offers to These OGS services (15%): 

  • Access to Sustainability consultant with OGS for farm design and systems development ($300 value)
  • One year membership to Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training ($30 value)
  • Access to Farm Succession services with OGS 
  • Single-day attendance at OGS Spring Conference 2021 & 2022 ($120 value)

Fees:

$500 for 15 hours of Mentorship or $1000 for 30 hours (scholarships available).

Special reduced fee for Forest Farming Applicants! 

Working with Erica at Bearded Birds Farm was an absolute pleasure. Erica came to me with great questions, and a passion for running her farm with minimal consumer waste and use of plastics, while maximizing her small space to its fullest potential. Erica and I still stay in touch even though the mentorship has ended. The check-ins, sharing of tips and tricks, and encouragement of each others passions in agriculture is what shines through the most.

Erica Blumenfeld

Farm Mentor, Farm Manager Eliada Homes

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: CLIF bar Family Foundation, Southern Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education UNFI Foundation, WNC Bridge Foundation, Harry Chapin Foundation, Walnut Cove, New Visions, and USDA Rural Development. Our Growth Partners (year-round program support) are: Carolina Farm Credit, Earth Tools, Buchi,  Living Web Farms, Gaia Herbs and Chelsea Green Publishing. Our Media Sponsors are WNCW, Asheville FM and BPR. .