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?
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.
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
Thank you for taking the time to answer me.
us with comments, suggestions and questions.