A new full-time residential program to educate beginning farmers is now accepting applications for the course that begins in February 2018. The Urban Edge Sustainable Farming Program is being offered by First Generation Farmers (FGF), a non-profit that started four years ago in Brentwood.
FGF believes that training and mentoring those interested in farming is essential to ensuring a healthy environment and maintaining the security of the world’s food supply. “We’re focusing in on children’s education and beginning farmer training,” noted Eleanor Van Hof, Farm Manager and Beginning Farmer Resource Coordinator for FGF. “We’re trying to cultivate the next generation of farmers.”
The nine-month program is designed to provide aspiring farmers with a foundation of agricultural production skills along with the business knowledge needed to establish a successful farming operation. FGF staff and partners provide curriculum for the program at the National Center for Appropriate Technology and University of California Cooperative Extension.
Those applying now will be the inaugural class for the unique program, which offers a more involved agricultural education than conventional classroom study. “Another thing that makes our program a little different is we offer residential housing,” said Van Hof. “They’re actually living on the farm, which is different than a lot of other beginning farmer training programs.”
Graduates of the program will qualify for a variety of apprenticeships and other farming opportunities. Those who wish to continue through the incubator program will work with FGF staff in developing a business proposal to manage their quarter-acre to produce and sell their crops.
Information regarding the program for beginning farmers is available through the FGF website. The deadline to apply is December 1.