BFRDP Projects

Cultivating Resilience: Expanding Comprehensive Training, Support and Networking for Beginner and Advanced-Beginner Farmers in Maine
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $749,891
Grant Program: 2018 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Ryan Dennett
Organization: Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

This project, which built on previously successful BFRDP funded initiatives, provided targeted services
that measurably improved the sustainability of Maine’s beginning farmers. The Maine Organic Farmers
and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) goals were to: 1) Continue enhancing the effective Journeyperson
Program; 2) Develop and launch a program to address the unique needs of “advanced-beginners (5+
years of experience);” and 3) Implement innovative strategies to increase overall reach, accessibility,
and impact of our farmer training programs.

1) Success in training farmers, as well as providing the skills needed for a demanding marketplace,
has always been the hallmark of MOFGA’s Journeyperson Program (JP). During the past ten
years, 240 new farmers have graduated from the program. Equipped with innovative
production, management, and marketing skills, these farmers have created more than 140 farm

2) In early 2019 we developed and launched the Maine Farm Resilience Program for advanced-
beginning farmers needing to work through a strategic pivot point in their business trajectory.
Among countless other resources, we provided mentors, technical service providers and an
educational stipend to 24 advanced-beginning farmers to appropriately scale their businesses
and help them get back on track.

3) We capitalized on the success of our peer-learning programs to create a broader network of
support for beginning farmers; what began as in-person “Regional Gatherings” morphed into
online “Producer Meetings” at the advent of COVID. We fostered closer relationships with
military veteran and immigrant farmers by working with related organizations. These efforts
culminated in 431 beginning farmers participating in these programs.

Overall, and as a direct result of BFRDP’s support in the past three years, we trained 80 Journeypersons
on 59 farms. Our Agricultural Services Specialists provided on farm technical assistance to 145 farms.
We conducted workshops, trainings and educational events for a total of 2,232 educational
engagements with farmers.

Number of Participants: 431


Promotional Materials

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Educational Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success