Mini-Grant Success Stories: Introduction to Getting Your Hands Dirty

Over the coming months, we will be sharing the success stories of our 2015-2016 VBFRC mini-grant projects. This month, we are highlighting “An Introduction to Getting Your Hands Dirty,” a mini-grant project by the Fauquier Education Farm and Virginia Cooperative Extension (Fauquier Office).

This project was brought together as a compliment to the Northern Piedmont Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program. Through five years of Beginning Farmer trainings, the most frequently requested additional training from students was an intensive how-to-farm course. Many students recognized that they lacked the basic farming skill sets to launch their new enterprises, and there had not been any entry-level courses locally available for them to acquire these skills. Thus, “An Introduction to Getting Your Hands Dirty” was born!

During April and May of 2016, 22 students attended this 6-week course. The course included classroom lectures, outdoor labs held at the Fauquier Education Farm, and farm tours. As a result of the course, a majority of students reported that their knowledge had increased a great deal. Students also reported that the course exceeded their expectations – some even wishing the course were longer so more information could be offered!

The success of the 2016 “Introduction to Getting Your Hands Dirty” mini-grant project prompted another submission for a VBFRC mini-grant by the Fauquier Education Farm and the Fauquier office of Virginia Cooperative Extension. This project was funded and has already begun! On March 29th, a free orientation was offered to introduced interested individuals to the program, and classes will begin on April 5th. We are delighted to see this project continue and look forward to hearing about this year’s successes!

If you are interested in hearing more about the “Introduction to Getting Your Hands Dirty” workshop successes, please contact Jim Hankins at

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