Bill and I visited Provider Farm in Salem, CT where two of our journey farmers, Max and Kerry are in the height of their first growing season on the farm! They gave Bill and I a tour of their fields and pastures, giving us samples of their organic produce every step of the way. Provider Farm sells at the Coventry Market, Fidlleheads Food Coop and has an on-farm CSA.
|Max and Kerry also produce beef on Provider Farm! These cows will have calves that will make up their future beef herds.|
|Max shows his mentor, Rob Schacht of Hunts Brook Farm and CT NOFA's Executive Director, Bill Duesing, one of the many varieties of melon he and Kerry are growing.|
|The most important part of the farm visit is sampling the vegetables of course.|
Max and Kerry are in the first group of Connecticut journey farmers. The journey farmer program in Maine, run by the Main Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association has been in place for a decade, and has supported the training of a considerable number of farmers now. The program provides two years of targeted support in the form stipends for education (workshops, books, etc) and business planning (consulting, accounting programs, business classes, etc.), free admission to CT NOFA's workshops and a match with a mentor paid through the grant. The Journeyperson Program is also in its first year in Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts all through the grant “Cultivating a New Crop of Farmers from Apprenticeship to Independence” funded by the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, through the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
If you are interested in applying for the 2012-2014 Journeyperson Program, please e-mail me and I can put you on the list of people to contact! We will begin accepting applications again this fall in October.