BFRDP Projects

Deep Roots: Thoughtful, Comprehensive, Community-Based Beginning Farmer Training
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $100,000
Grant Program: 2014 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: John Mesko
Organization: Sustainable Farming Association


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

During this project, we focused our efforts on those individuals who do not have direct access to a farming operation in their immediate or extended family.  Most of our participants were from non-farming backgrounds.  Several of our students were mid-career professionals seeking an alternative work situation.  Numerous intake programs were held to develop interest in and awareness of the program.  Two Farm Skills 101 Sessions were held, each consisting of 3 on farm, hands on, skills based trainings.  Fifteen people participated in these events.  Subsequently, several networking sessions were held around various intermediate and advanced farming concepts.  These networking sessions helped beginning farmers to build confidence in their knowledge gained and skills learned, while simultaneously building their personal contact network of trusted professionals and honest critics.

A mobile Deep Roots Training Pod was developed and stocked with tools and equipment necessary for delivering current and future Farm Skills 101 training.

An online educational platform was developed via social media for fostering deep learning in classic agrarian literature, as well as connecting students with community members, leaders and mentors.

As a result, over 180 people received instruction in beginning farmer skills and concepts.  Specifically, 34 students participated in evaluated portions of the program and affirmed they have or will:

  • demonstrate knowledge of resilient business management and marketing.
  • understand the skills required for different types of farming.
  • apply foundational natural and social science knowledge relevant to establishing and maintaining a farm business.

The results of this program have been published in our e-newsletter as well as our annual report.

Number of Participants: 120


Promotional Materials

There are no promotional materials available for this project.

Educational Materials

There are no educational materials available for this project.

Reports & Evaluations

There are no reports or evaluations available for this project.

Delivery Area

Describe any unexpected results of the project:

How would you improve the project if you were to do it again?

What were the keys to success for your participants?

Individual Stories / Examples of Success