Creating a Farm to Match Your Values, Goals, Skills, and Resources
So you're thinking about starting a farm, but feeling overwhelmed by all the decisions? Have your online searches turned up piles of information, but you still feel a bit lost? This course can help. It was designed to assist new and aspiring farmers in taking the first steps in thinking through farm start-up (whether you already have land access or not). As Ben Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Thoughtfully defining your goals and strategy before you start farming can prevent wasted time & money.
Aspiring/Beginner – This course is for those who want to make some or all of their livelihood from farming, and those who are actively planning the start-up of a farm in the next few years. Each participant will be assessing their own resources and will begin developing a farm start-up plan. You do not need to have land or know what you will grow – just that you want to explore the possibilities and learn about the steps you need to take to begin farming.
NOTE: This course covers some of the
same material as BF 202: Writing a Business Plan, but at a much more
introductory level. We recommend taking BF 101 first to prepare for the
more advanced material in BF 202, unless you already have some business and farming background.
We also recommend following this course with BF 102: Markets and Profits in order to complete your start-up plan.
The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments here in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, live webinars will be woven into the online interface for 6 weeks each Fall to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.
Live instruction next begins Thurs Sept 22, 2022 from 6:30-8pm Eastern, with the final webinar on Thurs Oct 27. While we encourage live attendance so you have the opportunity to
engage with the presenters and ask questions, all webinars are recorded and
posted in your online classroom for students to watch anytime. Once you
have enrolled in this course, you will retain access to all
materials indefinitely, and can return to participate in the live
webinars in future offerings of the course if you wish.
Erica owns and operates Shelterbelt Farm, a diversified operation with lambs, cattle, an orchard, high tunnels, an apiary, and overnight accommodations in Brooktondale, NY. She also manages online courses for the Cornell Small Farms Program.
StartFarming without Land! Electra Jarvis, Green Food Solutions
StartCommunity Farms and Social Justice with Rafa Aponte of Rocky Acres Farm
StartScaling Up and the Power of Planning with Faith Gilbert of Letterbox Farm
StartHerb Farming, Value-Adding and Multiple Income Streams with Amanda David of Rootwork Herbals
StartLavender & Flower Farming with Susan Orellana-Clark of Bristol Hills Farm
StartVeggie Farming with a Mission to Feed LGBTQ+ Folks with D. Rooney of Rock Steady Farm
StartSuccessful Diversified Business with Dairy Goats with Joyce of Acorn Hill Farm
StartUrban Farming with a Mission with Brendan of Red Hook Farm (+ 2 BF 101 Student Presentations)
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn from successful farmers and start turning your farm dreams into reality today!