Great news! VABF has decided to drastically lower the cost of its Farm School program to make our program truly affordable for everyone, and to ensure we get a good turn-out. This low cost is a small price to pay for mapping out the future of your farm business – a business in which you could potentially be investing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars in the years to come!
Also, we will be offering a scholarship based on limited resources (a limited resource is a person with a total household income at or below the national poverty level for a family of 4 ($22,050) or less, or less than 50% of the county median household income). If you feel you meet this requirement, let us know and we can email a scholarship application to you.
We are very fortunate to be working with the Virginia Tech team and the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project members on this exciting project, and look forward to training many new farmers and ranchers in the months to come!
Have you dreamed of farming one day, but have no idea where to start? Do you want to meet and talk with other farmers who have already taken the plunge? Then maybe VABF’s FARM SCHOOL is for you!
The purpose of this program is to help beginning farmers and ranchers in Virginia to make informed farm planning decisions as part of a whole farm plan. This six week comprehensive program (Monday evenings from 6:00-9:00pm 10/22-11/26/12) will introduce students to these curriculum modules:
- Introduction to Whole Farm Planning (10/22 & 10/29)
- Marketing (11/5)
- Sustainable Farming Practices (11/12 & 11/19)
- Holistic Business Management (11/26)
Each module is organized at the introductory to intermediate stage of farming knowledge and experience. At the end of each module, additional resources and Virginia service provider contact information are available to help continue the farm planning process. The curriculum was developed by Virginia Tech, and is being offered as part of Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project through VABF.
Established farmers and Virginia service providers will participate in each of the six weekly programs, offering their own experience, feedback, encouragement and expertise to participants.
Students will have reading and homework assignments each week, including homework to be completed prior to the first session on 10/22.
Two farm tours are planned as part of the Farm School experience. On Sunday, November 11th (rain or shine), we will tour Shalom Farms from 1:00-2:30 and Keenbell Farm from 3:30-5:00pm. Students can participate in either or both tours, depending on their interests.
Shalom Farms is a regional food security, community development project of United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond (UMUMR). Shalom Farms, located near the James River in Goochland County, provides vegetable production for low-income, urban neighborhoods and FeedMore. The tour’s focus will include cole crops, cover crops, crop rotations, weed and insect management practices, greenhouse production and soil management.
Keenbell Farm is a third generation located in western Hanover County, VA. The farm, established in 1951, produces great tasting Grass-Fed Beef, Pastured Pork, Free Range Chicken, and Eggs. All animals are raised beyond organic standards, on pasture and stress free. This tour’s focus will include information on basic animal husbandry, pasture management, fencing, shelter requirements, grazing rotations, feed, and manure management.
At the end of the six week program, students will have the opportunity to participate in a networking event that will bring farmers, consumers, chefs, farmers market vendors, store owners, and others together in an informal social setting. This event is scheduled for Sunday, December 2nd from 2:00-4:00pm, and will be held at Midnight Brewery in Rockville, Virginia (Goochland County, just a short drive west of Short Pump). The networking social is free as part of the Farm School program, and includes hors d’oeuvres and locally brewed beers.
Participation is limited to 30 students.
Full refunds offered up to seven days prior to the event. After 10/15/12, no refunds will be given.
For additional information on the VABF Farm School 2012 fall program, contact Lisa Dearden, Program Manager, by email or phone (804) 314-9141.
Additional information on this grant funded program:
Virginia Whole Farm Planning Programs are based on newly developed whole farm planning curriculum developed by the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition. The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project is sponsored through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) of the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Award # 2010-49400-21720. This project is housed in the Department of Agriculture and Extension Education at Virginia Tech. Please email Kim Niewolny, Project Director, for more information, or visit the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project website.