Whole Farm Planning for Beginning Women Farmers

A 10-session whole farm planning course will be offered in Shelburne, beginning this January, for women new to farming. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 28.

2011 Whole Farm Planning Class

The free course, coordinated by the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension New Farmer Project, is open to any woman who has operated a farm or agricultural enterprise in Vermont for at least two but no more than 10 years. Space is limited to 15 participants selected through an application process.

The Whole Farm Planning for Beginning Women Farmers course will be held at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne and include four on-farm sessions at different Vermont farms. Throughout the course period, which runs from January through June, each individual will work one-on-one with an experienced farm mentor.

The course was developed by Holistic Management International, a non-profit organization that promotes and teaches holistic land management based on the on the work of Allan Savory and Jody Butterfield, co-founders of the Center for Holistic Management. Participants will learn how to create a values-based farm mission, improve their leadership and communication skills and increase farm profitability. The course also covers business planning, marketing, the whole farm decision analysis process, time management, land and infrastructure planning, soil fertility and integration of livestock on the farm.

Farm tour at Captain Munson's Farm

The application form is available on the “Classes” page of the UVM Extension New Farmer Project website. Because Vermont collaborates with whole farm planning programs in neighboring states, anyone living near the border of New Hampshire, New York or Massachusetts may be eligible to attend the course in one of those states.

The UVM Extension New Farmer Project also is seeking experienced farmers to serve as paid mentorsto class participants.  A link to mentor applications can be found on the “Classes” page.

2011 Mentor, Lisa McCrory, from Earthwise Farm in Bethel, VT

The course is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development grant. Holistic Management International staff in partnership with the UVM Extension New Farmer Project and other regional organizations, designed the curriculum specifically for women farmers.

For more information or if requiring disability-related accommodations to participate, contact Jessie Schmidt at newfarmer@uvm.edu or (802) 223-2389, ext. 203 or (866) 860-1382, ext. 203 (within Vermont) by Oct. 28.

post authored by Lisa Halvorsen

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About UVM New Farmer Project

The UVM Extension New Farmer Project draws together information and resources within Extension and the broader Vermont Agriculture community to assist new farmers in creating successful ag businesses.
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