PA New Farmer Training Program Applications Due Oct 15

The New Farmer Training Program and Agricultural Incubator at the Seed Farm in Emmaus Pennsylvania is now accepting applications for the 2013 season.

This intensive organic vegetable training program includes 500 hours of on farm training and 100 hours of formal workshops and classes. Participants build skills and create their own production and business plans. Graduates of the training program qualify for the agricultural incubator where they can farm on county owned land with access to equipment, greenhouse/ cooler space and continued mentorship.

Applications are due October 15, 2012.

During the training program, apprentices build skills in greenhouse production, seeding, transplanting, irrigation, soils, cover crops, pest management, weed management, season extension, and post harvest handling. They also have a crop project in which they develop a comprehensive plan for a particular crop and manage it throughout the season. Trainees also rotate through five management areas: greenhouse, compost, farmers market, cover crop, and high tunnel where they make key decisions and delegate tasks with the support of the farm manager. Equipment training is an emphasis at the Seed Farm. We have a wide range of seeding, transplanting, cultivation, and soil tillage tools that are demonstrated and used at the farm. On-farm training is complemented by classroom activities including the following courses organized by Penn State Extension: Exploring the Small Farm Dream, Introduction to Organic Vegetable Production, and Vegetable Business Planner.  In addition, farm visits are arranged through the local CRAFT (Collaborative Alliance for New Farmer Training) apprentice program and PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture).

Pennsylvania is a wonderful place to learn to farm. In addition to the Seed Farm there is a fabulous community of mentor farmers through the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) which the Seed Farm participates in; the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), the New Jersey Organic Farming Association (NOFA NJ), and Penn State Extension – Start Farming programs provide a wide assortment of workshops and resources in this area.

For more information and application materials visit www.theseedfarm.org or call Seed Farm Director Sara Runkel (610) 391-9583 ex.16. Applications are due October 15, 2012.

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