Finger Lakes CRAFT
Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training
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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
The season starts in May with an orientation and potluck, and ends in late October. The 2014 Mentor Farms and season schedule will be posted by April 1.
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 Farm, Northland Sheep Dairy, Kingbird 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:
- Managing soil fertility
- Managing pests, diseases and weeds
- Record keeping, financial management and profitability
- Juggling farming, family, jobs, and fun
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.