Mentorship in Starting a Farm
Starting a farm is a huge endeavor! At Organic Growers School, we deeply believe farmers are the experts and we want them to share their knowledge with the upcoming generation of farmers. One of the ways to do this is by participating in our Mentor Services. This is an expansion of an existing program we have in Farm Beginnings, our year long training, that is now open to all new and aspiring farmers! Mentor Services will match you with a farm mentor who can help you figure out your farm business and mentor you on subjects you identify that you need help with. In 2019, Erica Blumenfeld, of Eliada Homes, mentored Erica Shanks of Bearded Birds Farm on her new sprout business.
“Working with Erica at Bearded Birds Farm was an absolute pleasure. We spent time at each other’s farms and a few times meeting together at a coffee shop throughout the program. 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, which I was very excited about learning from her.
We covered a wide variety of farm business topics during our time working together from buying soil in bulk to managing restaurant customer relations, new growing mixes and seed companies to business finance tracking and tax filing.
Not only was I able to share my experiences, but I also learned a lo
t from her methods and practices that I will carry with me going forward. Best of all, I got to meet another local farmer and make a dear friend out of the mentorship. 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. Thank you OGS for providing me this opportunity to connect with another local farmer!”:
Erica as a mentee also greatly benefitted, reflecting, “Erica gave me the confidence to think I could do and accomplish
whatever I put my mind to on the farm. She was a constant support system, and went above and beyond duringour mentorship to check-in on me then, and after. We have become good friends since, and still talk often, and I can’t thank her enough for all of her constant encouragement. “
Mentor Services applications are now open. The deadline to apply is November 15th. Apply here.
Author: Nicole DelCogliano
Nicole DelCogliano is Farmer Program Coordinator at OGS. She teaches the year long Farm Beginnings program to new and beginning farmers. She also farms in Yancey County with her husband, at Green Toe Ground farm.