Get started in small-scale organic farming through MOFGA's
Journeyperson Farm Training Program
HELP GETTING ESTABLISHED
MOFGA's Journeyperson Program provides hands-on support, training, and mentorship for people who are serious about pursuing careers in organic farming in Maine.
The program is designed to fill the continuing education gap between apprentice and independent farmer, and to provide the resources and opportunities for prospective new farmers who have completed an apprenticeship to further develop the skills they need to farm independently and successfully. The program is largely shaped by the farming interests and goals of individual participants, and is intended to enable aspiring new farmers to gain advanced farming experience, skill, and perspective in a relatively safe and supportive environment, buffered somewhat from the high risk of establishing a farm enterprise. Journeypeople also benefit from participating in a supportive network of like-minded, motivated people.
MOFGA seeks applicants who are serious about operating farm businesses in Maine that will make significant contributions to the agricultural economy. While open to farms at any stage of development, the program is best utilized by those who have an established farm business with secure land tenure and will use this program as a tangible step toward achieving their farm goals.
MOFGA seeks application to the Journeyperson program from farms that meet the following criteria:
- A minimum of two years farming experience
- One calendar year of farm experience in Maine
- A demonstrated commitment to farming in Maine
- Measurable contributions to Maine’s agricultural economy
- Production goals of feeding their community and region
- A demonstrated commitment to sustainable practices; including, but not limited to organic production
The MOFGA Journeyperson program, while open to any farm that meets the above criteria is best suited for farms that have:
- Secure medium to long-term land tenure*
- A focus on livestock and/or crop production for direct to consumer and wholesale markets
- An established farm business and need support to refine their vision, apply whole-farm planning practices and have the time to fully utilize the resources of the program.
* MOFGA can provide resources to assist in obtaining land tenure
Components of the Program
MOFGA offers participants in the JP Program a 2-year package of support, including:
- Mentorship. As a MOFGA Journeyperson you will choose a mentor, who will be paid by MOFGA for their role as your mentor. You will also be assigned a mentor from MOFGA's Agricultural Services staff.
- Free access to MOFGA resources. This includes technical advice from our Agricultural Services staff, business planning help, free admission to MOFGA-sponsored events, workshops, and conferences, access to MOFGA's farmer network, and farm visits from MOFGA staff and advisors.
- An educational stipend of $500 per year, which can be spent on classes, workshops, or conferences related to farming, or books, videos, computer programs, etc., that are educational in nature.
- Access to the Farm Beginnings whole-farm and business-planning curriculum
- Discount with FEDCO & Organic Growers Supply
- Discount with Johnny's Selected Seeds
- Access to the Shared Use Farm Equipment pool
- Assistance and support for land access and tenure issues through partnerships with Maine Farmland Trust and Land For Good
- Access to the MOFGA Organic Farmers' Loan Fund
MOFGA expects all Journeyperson Program participants to:
- Provide regular, timely updates about farm progress and report any changes in farm land tenure;
- Provide a photo and biography for use in program promotion no later than April 1st each year;
- Choose a mentor; utilize them well through both in person meetings and regular communication throughout the year;
- Submit completed mentor agreement no later than June 1st each year;
- Utilize the provided education stipend to further their farm goals;
- Complete year-end self evaluations;
- Give back to the MOFGA community through promotion of the program, teaching opportunities and the like;
- Employ sustainable farming practices; including, but not limited to organic production.
MOFGA reviews off-site Journeyperson applications twice a year, in Mid-September and late January.We notify successful applicants by Mid-October or early March. Every 2 years we recruit for our Farmer-in-Residence position, with an application deadline in the fall. The next FIR cycle will begin with a fall 2016 application deadline, to start spring 2017.
Download a Program Application (Word doc format)
Complete and return via email to Daniel MacPhee
Off-Site JPs: September 1, 2015 (for "early admission" candidates) and January 15, 2016
Farmer-in Residence Program: September 1, 2016
For more information, contact Daniel MacPhee or call 207-568-4142 x3266
|Journeyperson Program graduate, Cate Stoner shows MOFGA's Organic Crop Specialist, Eric Sideman around on a recent farm visit.