Q&A

DEAR NEW FARM:

I am new to farming and would like to get started with part-time opportunities that could augment my normal income. Are there such opportunities, and how do I get started with education and a plan?

Noel Yearsley
Washington

 

DEAR NOEL:

Visit farmers markets and get involved with sustainable ag groups in your area, such as Tilth Producers (www.tilthproducers.org). See what other folks are doing, and find out what products are in demand in your area. Chances are many of the farmers around you have more than one enterprise going, both on and off the farm. I’ve been getting into heirloom garlic for the past several years because I use tons of the stuff myself, I’m fascinated by the stories behind the different varieties (and enjoy sharing them with customers), it’s relatively easy to grow and stores well, and there’s good demand for it in my area.

As for training, our online organic transition course should be up toward the end of the year. Although we’re targeting it to conventional farmers looking to make a change, anybody interested in organic agriculture will benefit from it. As you take the free course you’ll be not only be learning about organic farming and marketing, you’ll be developing a Farming System Plan, a requirement of federal certification. So go ahead and take baby steps, Noel, but get something in the ground as soon as you can—that’s when your education really begins.

Dan Sullivan
NF

 

DEAR DAN:

Thank you for your reply. I am going to do exactly as you say as soon as I get back to the USA. I am in Afghanistan now working to support the troops there and will be returning by the end of 2007. I think you have given me the insight that I need to get started in the right direction, and I have already heard of the organization that you have mentioned (Tilth).

Thank you for taking the time to answer me.

Sincerely,
Noel

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