BFRDP Projects

Groundswell New Farmer Training Programs
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $707,726
Grant Program: 2014 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Joanna Green
Organization: Center for Transformative Action


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

Our Project Goal is to increase the number, diversity, profitability, and environmental sustainability of beginning farmers (BFs) in the central New York region. Prior BFRDP support established Groundswell as an outstanding regional center for new farmer training, technical assistance, and business incubation.  Having substantially exceeded all our target numbers of trainees and new businesses launched in that Project, we are expanding our programs and audiences to:
1. Increase the technical, business management skills of BFs.
2. Provide intensive business incubation support to selected BFs and increase regional incubation capacity. 
3. Connect BFs to existing wholesale markets, and develop new marketing opportunities.
4. Support cooperation among farm businesses, and develop cooperative models for farm business ownership, management, and business transfer.
5. Increase the impact of farmer-to-farmer mentoring by increasing farmers' skills as educators and mentors.
6. Provide entry-level, on-farm learning experiences for diverse “Explorers,” with priority on immigrants, refugees, people of color, veterans, and limited resource trainees.

Our 2015 Programs included:

  • Farm Business Incubator Program (year-round)
  • Farm Business Planning Course (10-weeks)
  • Finger Lakes CRAFT (6 months)
  • "Year-Round High Tunnels" technical course (10 months)
  • Draft Animals Practicum (2 days)
  • Single-session workshops (Farmer Educator Training, Explore Your Farm Business Idea, Get Ready for Market, Landseekers Meeting)
  • Finger Lakes LandLink (ongoing)
  • Farmer Networks (Cooperative Farming Network, Finger Lakes Orchards Exchange, Homestead Farmers & Gardeners Network, Farmer-2-Farmer Network)
  • Individual mentoring in production, marketing and business management (year-round)
  • Press Bay Holiday Market Days (new market serving mostly BFs)

In 2015 we served a total of 176 unique individuals who participated in our programs and/or received individual consultations and mentoring. 39 of those individuals participated in more than one program. At least 15 of our trainees began farming commercially in 2015, and at least 8 new farm businesses were launched.

Number of Participants: 176


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