BFRDP Projects

Filling in the Gaps: Developing a Farmer Training Pipeline for Metropolitan NYC and Mid and Upper Hudson Valley Farmers with Special Emphasi
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $693,918
Grant Program: 2015 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Rachel Schneider
Organization: Hawthorne Valley Association


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

The 2015-2016  of our Beginning Farmer/Rancher Development Project has gotten us off to a great start in fulfilling both the stated mission of the proposal and in meeting our target numbers and diversity of participants. The idea behind this project was to bring together a substantial group of  project collaborators to create a beginning farmer training pipeline for participants with 0-7 years of farming practice and to help them to gain in knowledge, skills and planning capabilities in a consistent way, depending on their point of entry. These potential farmers would help to grow the urban/rural connection within the Hudson Valley of New York.

Aspiring and beginning farmers are not a homogeneous group. They come with particular strengths and challenges and this project aims to meet them where they are at. As we originally planned, this project specifically targeted aspiring and current farmers from socially disadvantaged and veteran communities who often are only marginally connected to existing beginning farmer offerings.

In our first year we were able to bring a greater diversity of aspiring farmers to the Hudson Valley. Interested participants passed through explorer, planner, start-up and enterprise stages of programming according to their farming experience. Specialized training allowed groups with particular needs such as veterans, young African American or Latino aspiring farmers or
formerly incarcerated individuals to enter the farmer training pipeline having already worked through the unique set of issues they face in their own communities.

This project has also allowed the project collaborators to deepen their work together. In this case seven organizations partnered to implement the project goals: Hawthorne Valley Farm, Grow NYC FARMroots,  the Bard Prison Initiative Re-Entry Program, Soul Fire Farm, the Black Urban Growers and Heroic Food. As service providers for target audiences, the more we work together, the more we  can meet specific needs and challenges of our stakeholders.

This year were able to run 4 planning and production skills workshops, to train facilitators and initiate a Community Garden Internship Program for formerly incarcerated individuals, to run two separate workshops for veterans and to have this training culminate in our Farm Beginnings whole farm planning program. Through this 6-8 session program more advanced farmers
were able to plan out their farming enterprises  in order to meet the challenge of providing an ongoing sustainable living for themselves and their families as they continue their farming careers.

Finally, we were able to offer a Farm Mentorship Program so that graduates from Farm Beginnings could spend time with a farm mentor of their choosing to target specific area of interest or skill building they might have.

We continue to be grateful to the USDA Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program for allowing us this opportunity to help bring aspiring and current farmers of diverse backgrounds into the Hudson Valley.

Number of Participants: 194


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