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

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

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, and connect 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.

Timeline Year One
November 15, 2020 Apply
December 5, 2020 Acceptance or Denial
December 15th, 2020 Pay down payment to secure spot
January 2021 Matched with mentor
February 2021- February 2022 Mentoring for one year

Program Details

Schedule:

  1. Application deadline of November 15, 2020.
  2. Acceptance Notification by December 1, 2020. Pay down payment by December 15th to secure your spot in the program.
  3. Matched with a mentor by January 15, 2020.
  4. Program starts February 15, 2020, and ends February 28 of 2021.

Fees:

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

Components of the Program: 

  • One on one Mentorship with an experienced farmer of up to 30 hours ($1000 value)
  • 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)

 

Participant Expectations

  • Complete application and interview;
  • Respectful and timely communication with Mentor and Coordinator;
  • Complete by March 2022;
  • Monthly digital tracking of time;
  • Quarterly check in with Mentorship Program Coordinator.

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. .