Virginia Association for Biological Farming

Spring six-week Farm School for Beginners Starting Soon!

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Registration is now open for VABF’s six-week 2013 Farm School for Beginners.

Eventbrite - VABF Spring Farm School 2013

The purpose of this program is to help beginning farmers and ranchers in Virginia to make informed farm planning decisions as part of a whole farm plan.  This six week comprehensive program (Monday evenings from 6:00-9:00pm 2/25/13 – 4/1/13) will introduce students to these curriculum modules:

  • Introduction to Whole Farm Planning (2/25)
  • Sustainable Farming Practices (3/4, 3/11 & 3/18)
  • Marketing (3/25)
  • Holistic Business Management (4/1)
Each module is organized at the introductory to intermediate stage of farming knowledge and experience.  At the end of each module, additional resources and Virginia service provider contact information are available to help continue the farm planning process.  The curriculum was developed by Virginia Tech, and is being offered as part of Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project through VABF.
Established farmers and Virginia service providers will participate in each of the six weekly programs, offering their own experience, feedback, encouragement and expertise to participants.
Students will have reading and homework assignments each week, including homework to be completed prior to the first session on 2/25.
Two farm tours are planned as part of the Farm School experience.  On Sunday, March 10th (rain or shine), we will tour Shalom Farms from 10:30-12:30 and Keenbell Farm from 3:30-5:00pm.  Students can participate in either or both tours, depending on their interests.  Students are encouraged to eat lunch together at one of many local restaurants in between tours.
Shalom Farms is a regional food security, community development project of United Methodist Urban Ministries of Richmond (UMUMR). Shalom Farms, located near the James River in Goochland County, provides vegetable production for low-income, urban neighborhoods and FeedMore. The tour’s focus will include cole crops, cover crops, crop rotations, weed and insect management practices, greenhouse production and soil management.
Keenbell Farm is a third generation located in western Hanover County, VA.  The farm, established in 1951, produces great tasting Grass-Fed Beef, Pastured Pork, Free Range Chicken, and Eggs.  All animals are raised beyond organic standards, on pasture and stress free.  This tour’s focus will include information on basic animal husbandry, pasture management, fencing, shelter requirements, grazing rotations, feed, and manure management.
At the end of the six week program, students will have the opportunity to participate in a networking event that will bring farmers, consumers, chefs, farmers market vendors, store owners, and others together in an informal social setting.  This event is scheduled for Sunday, April 7th from 1:00-4:00pm, and will be held at Grayhaven Winery, Gum Spring, Virginia (Goochland County, just 25 miles west of Short Pump).  The networking social includes a tour of both the vineyard and winery and is free as part of the Farm School program.  An International Cheese & Wine Tasting is included as part of the event.
Please note: to pay by check, click “show other payment options” after selecting your purchase type.
Participation is limited to 30 students.
Full refunds offered up to seven days prior to the event.  After 2/18/13, no refunds will be given.
For additional information on the VABF Farm School 2013 fall program, including SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION, contact Lisa Dearden, Program Manager, by email or phone (804) 314-9141.
Additional information on this grant funded program:
Virginia Whole Farm Planning Programs are based on newly developed whole farm planning curriculum developed by the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition. The Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project is sponsored through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) of the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Award # 2010-49400-21720.  This project is housed in the Department of Agriculture and Extension Education at Virginia Tech.  Please email Kim Niewolny, Project Director, for more information, or visit the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project website.

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