Labor Management Series

Join the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the National Agriculture Apprenticeship Learning Network for a virtual 5-part farm mentor training and labor management series designed for farmers and farm mentors that employ workers or host apprentices. This series centers farm workers’ stories and guides farm managers and mentors through crucial aspects of managing and mentoring including communication, building inclusive workplace cultures, and empowering your staff.  Registration is free and open to all. Attend only a few or all of the mentor training workshops in the series. Please register here and direct any questions about the series to Beginning Farmer Program Specialist, Bo Dennis at [email protected].

This event is part of a 3-year Northeast SARE-funded grant with several partners across the region, focused on supporting farm mentors to build their capacity as educators – thereby better supporting our aspiring, beginning, or first-generation farmers. We aim to train at least 25 farmers who currently serve in agricultural mentorship positions.

Series Sessions

Centering Workers on Farms

January 10, 3-6 p.m. EST

With Not Our Farm 

To kick off MOFGA’s labor management series, this workshop will consist of multiple opportunities for us all to reflect on and discuss the absolute necessity of centering workers in all aspects of our farming operations. We will approach this through the lens of human resources (interviews, onboarding, working training) and by hearing conversations and insights from experienced career farmers who have spent many years working on farms not their own. Join us for what is sure to be a vibrant, joyful and educational workshop that will benefit any operation.

Not Our Farm is a worker visibility and support project that seeks to amplify the voices and experiences of workers on farms not their own. Visit www.notourfarm.org where you can read stories from workers all over the United States, and get a copy of our worker zine – a guide to working on farms, for workers by workers.

Supporting an Inclusive Workplace Culture

January 24, 4-6 p.m. EST

With Rock Steady Farm

Join the farmers at Rock Steady Farm for a presentation on their workplace culture, farm policies, care focused approach, and on how to build an inclusive workplace on your farm, especially for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ workers. Additionally, Rock Steady will moderate a panel of some of  other inspiring farmers from across the country who will speak on their best practices and lessons learned on farmer rights and workplace culture building. Learn more about Rock Steady Farm’s Pollinate farmer training program for queer, trans, and BIPOC beginning farmers here.

On Farm Communication

February 7, 4-6 p.m. EST

With Apple Creek Farm and University of Maine 

Join University of Maine’s farm coaching team members  Leslie Forstadt, Human Development specialist and Abby Sadauckas, farmer at Apple Creek Farm for a 2-hour session aimed at improving on-farm communication. During the session you’ll learn about communication essentials, practice skills during break-out groups and how to build a communication plan for your farm.

Employee Retention

February 14, 3-6 p.m. EST

With South Paw Farm

Looking at the case study of South Paw Farm in Freedom Maine, the longstanding crew of this diversified vegetable farm will share their experiences of what keeps them coming back to work year after year. The farm workers and farm owner of South Paw will touch on power dynamics, communication, building shared respect and their culture around conflict. A farmer round table discussion will follow.

Supporting Learning and Empowering Leaders in your Staff

February 28, 4-6 p.m. EST

With Julie Sullivan from San Juan Ranch as well as Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming

Come learn from Julie Sullivan from San Juan Ranch as well as Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming about supporting the learning of your crew and apprentices. We will explore balancing learning and doing while farming, the experiential learning cycle for adult learners, equitable compensation, and how to build respect and investment in your worker to create a more supportive workplace.

Meet-up for kids ages 8-12 (Part 1) – Monday Nov. 2, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Connect with other farm kids from all over Maine! At this meet up, we’ll be learning from MOFGA’s Orchard coordinator Laura Sieger about the amazing fruit-producing trees that are all around us. If you have an apple or pear tree at your farm or nearby, bring a piece of fruit to show us! We’ll also set you up with a scavenger hunt – come back on Friday to share what you found.
Meet-up for kids ages 6-8 on Wednesday Nov. 4, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Today’s meet-up will be all about apples! We’ll share a story and then do a craft together. Sign up & receive a short list of supplies needed for the craft.
Meet-up for kids ages 8-12 (Part 2) – Friday, Nov. 6, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
A few days later we’ll meet up again. If you joined on Monday, we would LOVE to see your scavenger hunt findings! (You’re welcome to just join for Friday’s meet up, too.) We’ll also be talking about animals (domesticated and wild) and other neat stuff.