COCKEYSVILLE, Md. — Future Harvest CASA is now accepting applications for our Beginner Farmer Training Program which provides free, yearlong training in sustainable agriculture to the next generation of Chesapeake region farmers.
“The BFTP provides aspiring farmers training in financial, environmental and social sustainability. A new wave of savvy, resilient farmers is essential for the future of our region’s food security,” said Sarah Sohn, BFTP director. “With 20 percent of our region’s farmers due to retire in the next five years, new farmer training is more critical than ever.”
The BFTP has undergone explosive growth in the past few years — in 2018, the program trained 80 new farmers.
“We are thrilled to expand our program to match the growing interest in farming as a career. Young people, second careerists, mid-stream farmers who want to change their operations – all types of people are considering a job in farming and turning to Future Harvest CASA and its partners for training,” said Dena Leibman, executive director of Future Harvest CASA.
The BFTP is a yearlong program that combines a comprehensive classroom curriculum with hands-on learning at some of the region’s most successful farms that employ practices that are profitable, protect land and water and build healthy communities. We offer three tailored levels of training designed to meet the needs of beginning farmers at different stages in their careers, from entry-level to advanced.
Each level is designed with scheduling flexibility to allow new farmers to further their training while maintaining their own farms or other work. The program serves new farmers in urban, suburban and rural settings, across the Chesapeake region: Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia and Delaware.
The deadline for applications is Oct. 15. There are a limited number of spots. Further application information can be found at futureharvestcasa.org. For questions, please contact BFTP Director Sarah Sohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make the program accessible to a broad range of aspiring farmers, enrollment in the BFTP is free and trainees receive a host of additional benefits — a complimentary annual Future Harvest CASA membership, free registration for field days throughout the year and free admission to our annual winter conference.
The BFTP is made possible through a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant and other generous funders. This critical funding enables Future Harvest CASA and collaborative partners to offer free and low-cost training to new farmers.
— Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture