Building Capacity to Support Diverse and New Farming Audiences in Vermont

Vermont agricultural service providers report gaps in their prior training and in the information resources currently available to them that limit their ability to address emerging needs in the following three interrelated topic areas that have significant implications for agricultural sustainability:

  1. Information resources and referrals for beginning farmers;
  2. Assistance to established farmers with farm business succession and transfer planning; and
  3. Strategies to address social justice in their programming for farmers, farm workers, and farm businesses.

Through this project, led by the Vermont state SARE coordinator, a project team will update and revise outdated beginning farmer resources, create new information products and tools, and engage 24 Vermont agricultural service providers in learning opportunities that build their capacity to deliver effective beginning farmer and farm transfer programming for more diverse farmer audiences.

University of Vermont Extension has a large collection of beginning farmer resources that are now over ten years old, which we will update to reflect current conditions and regulations. We will also create new tools and resources and offer professional development opportunities for service providers who specialize in production, marketing and food safety to provide basic farm transfer information and appropriate referrals to more specialized service providers. Finally, the project will deliver a variety of diversity, equity, and inclusion learning opportunities for providers to help them provide more inclusive, accessible, and effective services to more diverse farmer audiences.

Performance Target: Twenty four agricultural service providers will participate in facilitated on-line and in-person education that builds confidence and capacity to deliver effective beginning farmer and farm transfer programming for diverse audiences. Small-group engagement with consulting topic experts, peer group discussions, and interactions with farmer-educators will support participants as they integrate new understanding and skills into their programming. By the project’s conclusion, 20 providers will have incorporated new information and approaches into group education and individual coaching and technical assistance, working with 300 aspiring and beginning farmers, farm employees, and established farm operators.

Want more information? See the related SARE grant: