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Beginning Farmer Education Partnership Project

Posted: April 17 2009

Exploring the Small Farm Dream - May 13&14, 2009
Orientation & Train the Trainer Session

The New England Small Farm Institute (NESFI) will offer a training session to introduce its course and workbook, Exploring the Small Farm Dream: Is Starting an Agricultural Business Right for You?, to potential course sponsors and instructors. The 1-1/2 day orientation and train the trainer session will be held at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ, May 13-14, in partnership with NOFA-NJ. The training is one of several that will be held around the Northeast.
Exploring the Small Farm Dream, a course in decision-making and farm start-up planning, has been field-tested by a variety of organizations and agencies in the Northeast and beyond. NESFI developed the four-session course and workbook for people who are actively considering starting a farm business. "Explorers" take a close look at the realities of working for oneself, especially what it takes to own and manage a successful farming venture. Participants set goals, assess available resources, determine if farming as a business is right for them, and develop action plans to guide next steps.
Experienced course facilitators will conduct train the trainer sessions for service providers that want to consider adding "Explorer" to their beginning farmer "toolbox," and for instructors who may wish to teach the course. Participants will learn how to use the Exploring the Small Farm Dream workbook both in a classroom setting and as a one-on-one coaching tool, and will be introduced to other NESFI resources such as the new Small Farm Planner, a self-study sequel to Explorer.
The train the trainer sessions are made possible by a professional development grant from Northeast SARE (NESARE). The goal of the grant is to make Exploring the Small Farm Dream more widely available in the Northeast, and to build a network of course delivery partners.
There will be no charge to attend the trainings. However, participants will be responsible for their own lodging and transportation expenses. Participants will receive copies of the Explorer and Planner workbooks along with a facilitation guide. The sessions will include:

  • Discussion of new farmers, their needs and their interests
  • Overview of Explorer and Planner and how they can fit into existing programs and services
  • Strategies for planning, marketing and administering an Explorer course
  • Detailed review of the curriculum for prospective course facilitators
  • Opportunity for facilitators to practice delivery of course segments

For details about the May 13-14 training, and a registration form for this or future trainings
go to:
For background on Exploring the Small Farm Dream and to see resources for service providers and course participants visit www.smallfarm.org.