Growing New Farmers Program
The Growing New Farmers Program provides introductory level classroom and hands-on training in farm production and business planning. We offer optional apprenticeship placement with a mentor farmer that provides extended job-based training proven to be invaluable when venturing in to the world of small to mid-sized sustainable farming. Since 2010 we have trained over 146 new farmers and food systems leaders in the Lowcountry and look forward to growing our resilient local food system with you.
Applications for the 2017 Program are open until March 17th, 2017
Selected participants will explore their interest in agriculture as they receive 6 months of experiential, hands-on learning in the field combined with curriculum-based instruction in a traditional classroom setting. All participants will experience introductory-level training including coursework, field trips, workshops, networking, and regular field days on the 1-acre teaching plot at Middleton Place USDA Certified Organic Farm. Qualified applicants are provided the opportunity to be matched with one of over 20 qualified local farmer or food system business mentors to gain hands-on experience relevant to their interests. Participants will receive a minimum of 250 training hours (500+ with apprenticeship) and receive a Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture and Continuing Education Units from the College of Charleston through the School of Professional Studies’ Job Bridge Program. Past participants have gone on to become active business members in our food system, including Spade and Clover Gardens, Compost in My Shoe, Rooting Down Farms, The Green Heart Project, the Johns Island Farmers Market, Wit Meets Grit, Sunday Brunch Farmers Market, and Murray’s Heirlooms, to name a few, along with many holding a variety of positions in the local agriculture industry.
New this year! An optional 8 week business planning course and challenge, offered through Clemson Extension and in conjunction with South Carolina Community Loan Fund’s Feeding Innovation Program, will be available to participants through separate application during September and October.
Program dates: April 3rd – September 21, 2017 (includes a break during the first two weeks in July)
Monday lectures at Local Works. (5:30pm-8:30pm)
Choice of Wednesday OR Thursday field days at Middleton Place USDA Certified Organic Farm. (8:30am-12:30pm)
$2,000 program fee.
A $400 deposit is required to secure enrollment. The remaining
cost will be paid monthly. Limited, income-based financial aid is
available via application.
For more information contact Brian Wheat, the Growing New Farmers Program Manager.
Watch the Growing New Farmers Program Videos:
Proudly recognized as one of Food Tank and James Beard Foundation’s 2016 Good Food Organizations.
This program is made possible by support from:
USDA Rural Development, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation, Pathfinder Foundation, Singing for Change, and US Small Business Association.
Lowcountry Local First is an equal opportunity provider and employer.