BFRDP Projects

Growing Self-Reliant Farmers
[Final Report]

Award Amount: $369,500
Grant Program: 2016 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Susan Willsrud
Organization: Calypso Farm and Ecology Center


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

The Growing Self-Reliant Farmers project serves aspiring and beginning farmers, series about starting and and managing their own small-scale diversified farms through Calypso Farm and Ecology Center's 5-month, immersive Farmer Training Program, Beginning Farmer Council and share curriculum. 

Calypso Farm & Ecology Center, a grass roots, diversified educational farm founded in 2000, piloted the Farmer Training Program in 2012 to equip aspiring growers with the practical skills and confidence to start their own successful farms. The farm-based program offers hands-on training and is unique in its focus on creative, production and business skills through a wide array of topics, including: all aspects of ecological agriculture as well as blacksmithing, mechanics, carpentry, food preservation, wool processing, bee keeping, value added products, extensive whole farm and business planning, animal husbandry and more. Collaboration with the Folk School Fairbanks, a community-based organization focused on hands-on education, brings in a variety of expert instructors to teach many of these topics throughout the program. The Beginning Farmer Council, made up of farmers who have been in production for 5 years or less, serve as an advisory board for the Farmer Training Program and Whole Farm Planning curriculum.  

By 2019, the Farmer Training Program will serve 18 beginning farmers and 100 beginning farmers will participate in the program through hands-on public workshops and the Whole Farm Planning series.

Number of Participants: 275


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