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Finger Lakes CRAFT

Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training


Join online today!

Are you an experienced farmer dedicated to cultivating the next generation of sustainable farmers in our region? Are you a farming intern or a beginning farmer looking to broaden your farming experience and connect with other interns and farmers? Or are you an urban gardener interested in connecting with farmers and exploring the possibility of farming as a career? If so, the Finger Lakes CRAFT wants you!

The Finger Lakes CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) is a community of established and aspiring farmers and homesteaders. This community meets monthly throughout the growing season at each of six CRAFT Mentor Farms to learn about that farm operation, ask lots of questions, share knowledge and network with each other. We also have several potlucks through the season where you can get to know other beginning and established farmers.

Finger Lakes CRAFT Membership

CRAFT membership is open to all farm interns, employees, aspiring and experienced farmers, including organic, conventional or other). CRAFT membership provides you with:

  • Admission to all monthly CRAFT farm tours during the season, and to our potluck gatherings throughout the season
  • Participation in a supportive network of experienced and beginning farmers and homesteaders
  • Educational benefits for your interns and employees that can help you attract more qualified workers to your farm.

The 2014 CRAFT Season

CRAFT days follow the following schedule. Please prepare to be outside (sun protection, water bottle, rain gear, layers) and plan to arrive 5 min EARLY. There is no separate registration for tours and workshops, attendance is required for the entire day.

10-12 Tour
12-1 Potluck Lunch
1-3 Workshop

Saturday, May 17, 6-9 PM
CRAFT Potluck: Orientation and Meet the Mentor Farmers 
TBA Common House, EcoVillage, Rachel Carson Way, Ithaca, NY

Monday, May 19, 10 AM - 3 PM
CRAFT Farm Tour #1, Kingbird Farm, Berkshire, NY
PM workshop: Breeding Poultry and Livestock

Monday, June 16, 10 AM - 3 PM
CRAFT Farm Tour #2, Northland Sheep Dairy, Marathon, NY
PM workshop: Sheep Management and Health Maintenance

Monday, July 21, 10 AM - 3 PM
CRAFT Farm Tour #3, Main Street Farms, Homer & Cortland, NY
PM workshop: Aquaponics systems

Monday, August 18, 10 AM - 3 PM
CRAFT Farm Tour #4, West Haven Farm, Ithaca, NY
PM workshop: TBA

Monday, September 15, 10 AM - 3 PM
CRAFT Farm Tour #5: The Good Life Farm, Interlaken, NY
PM workshop: Organic, Holistic Orchard Design and Management

Monday, October 20, 10 AM - 3 PM
CRAFT Farm Tour #6:  TBA
PM workshop: TBA

Saturday November 15, 6-9 PM
CRAFT Season Wrap-Up
TBA Common House, EcoVillage, Rachel Carson Way, Ithaca, NY

2014 CRAFT sessions will be every 3rd Monday of the month, May-October
10:00 AM -3:00 PM with potluck lunch
Morning Farm Tour plus Afternoon Topical Workshop

2014 Mentor Farms

Our CRAFT Mentor Farms are (click for CRAFT Farm Profiles): West Haven FarmNorthland Sheep DairyKingbird Farm, The Good Life Farm, Oechsner Farms, and Main Street Farms. This group of experienced farmer-mentors works with Groundswell to host a series of training sessions for CRAFT members from May to October. Each session will include an in-depth farm tour; potluck lunch; Q&A with the farmers; and plenty of time for informal mentoring and networking among the farmers and their trainees.

Topics to be addressed by each farm during each farm tours include:

  • Safety
  • Managing soil fertility
  • Managing pests, diseases and weeds
  • Marketing
  • Record keeping, financial management and profitability
  • Juggling farming, family, jobs, and fun


Join online today!

About the CRAFT approach

The CRAFT approach was first developed by farmers in the Hudson Valley/Berkshires region, and builds on the training provided by individual farmers to their interns and employees during the course of the growing season. The CRAFT approach has been highly successful in increasing the quality, depth and breadth of new farmer training in several other regions in the US and Canada.

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Remembrance Farm Tour. Biodynamic theory and practice