Strong networks of farmers provide invaluable support for beginners. We service providers can facilitate the development of these networks, and sometimes we can help them go beyond cultural and morale support to developing economic relationships with each other: sharing equipment, building shared facilities, cooperative marketing, and more.
Hawthorne Valley Farm (HVF) in Ghent, NY was instrumental in the formation of the first CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) farmer network in the US. Rachel Schneider, director of the Learning Center at HVF, presented and facilitated a session on farmer networks at the Oct. 2010 BF Learning Network meeting:
- Farmer-To-Farmer Network Discussion Notes (PDF) - summary of presentation and discussion
- Baseline Data Form (PDF) - for farmer mentors participating in the CRAFT program, this is the baseline form that Rachel mentions in her presentation