Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year and Winter Workshops

Wondering what Fresh Start Farmers are doing during the winter?

Photo by Amy Temple
Currently we aren't selling at market or growing food in the fields. But this week marks the beginning of winter workshops, and farmers are in for a busy "off"-season! 

As you know, Fresh Start Farms growers are members of the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project, an immigrant and refugee farmer training program that provides participants with support and technical assistance to start their own farm businesses. Most of these growers have extensive agricultural experience already, but the farm scene in Maine is quite a bit different than in East Africa, and these winter workshops go a long way to demystify the transition.


Each class begins with a practice session on one of the following subjects: vegetable families, pest identification, or record keeping.

Topics for January include:
  • Reading a seed catalogue
  • Crop enterprise budget and introduction to three new crops
  • Farm business; marketing options, and food safety
  • Making a crop plan
  • Crop insurance and pest identification
  • Land tenure workshop with Land For Good
  • CSA administration and advertising

Topics for February include:
  • Marketing - tracking sales; record keeping
  • Crop insurance at USDA Service Center
  • Marketing - market display and oral recipes
  • Marketing - wholesale quality, invoicing, packaging
  • Crop plan for 2013 and organizing seeds to match plan

Photo by Amy Temple

Farmers are working hard to learn the skills necessary to be successful business owners in America. Much of that work also involves ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, financial literacy, and business planning - in addition to the workshops listed above. Each participant receives this education as part of the program, and exercises a significant voice in choosing workshop topics that are directly related to her or his needs.

We're looking forward to a great year, and hope you'll join us. Consider becoming a 2013 CSA member to support Fresh Start Farms for the big seed order mid-January - a major pre-season expense. Click here for details!

Happy New Year from all of us at Fresh Start Farms!

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