top of page

Beginning Farmer Training

Ivan S. giving a tour of SoCliff Farm in Lakewood, CO

The aim of the Beginning Farmer Training program is to help train and mentor the next generation of local farmers. With three separate tracks (Incubator, Intro to Farming and Intern), the program is able to meet people where they are and help them along on their farming journeys.

 

We are dedicated to equity and reducing the barriers to entry into a career in agriculture, especially for historically marginalized communities. Priority admittance will be given to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQIA+, women, refugees, immigrants, and veterans.

En el futuro, nos gustaría ofrecer nuestros Programas de Capacitación para Agricultores Principiantes en español. Si usted está interesado en esto, por favor envíe un correo electrónico, tessa@gofarm.org. Gracias.

Incubator Farmer Track

A two-year program beginning in October, designed for beginning farmers who are expected to launch or continue an independent urban or small-scale farm business producing specialty crops. Incubator Farmers attend the 20-week Whole Farm Planning Course and are provided year-round training, mentoring and technical assistance, access to regular farming workshops, as well as access to a farm plot, water, farming equipment and paid intern labor.

 

The program is designed to allow Incubator Farmers to maintain a part-time job outside of the Incubator Farmer track. It is highly recommended that people interested in starting a farm business augment the knowledge gained through this program with on-farm production experience at a local farm.

 

Applications are closed for the Incubator Farmer cohort beginning in October 2023. Please check back in late July 2024 to apply for the October 2024 cohort. For more information about the Incubator Farmer Track, click below.

Intern Farmer Track
 

A 4-month paid internship that runs from May through September, designed for people who are interested in a career in agriculture and wish to gain on-farm experience. Intern Farmers work approximately 20-25 hours per week on Incubator Farmers’ farm plots, gaining valuable hands-on farming knowledge. Internship applications are posted in the late winter/early spring for the following summer.

Intro to Farming Track

A one-year program beginning in October, designed for people who are interested in learning more about local agriculture and/or who may want to explore starting or scaling up their own farm in the future. Intro to Farming participants attend the 20-week Whole Farm Planning Course, and are provided mentoring, technical assistance, access to regular farming workshops and no-cost use of GoFarm farming equipment.

 

The program is designed to allow participants to maintain a full-time job outside of the Intro to Farming track. It is highly recommended that people interested in starting a farm business augment the knowledge gained through this program with on-farm production experience at a local farm.

 

Applications are closed for the Intro to Farming cohort beginning in October 2023. Please check back in late July 2024 to apply for the October 2024 cohort. For more information on the Intro to Farming Track, click below.

Why We Started The Beginning Farmer Training Program

For the past 50 years, the Denver Metro area has been steadily losing farms and farmland. In addition, the average age of a Colorado farmer is 58 years old, and studies estimate that as many as 50% of farmers will retire within the next decade.

 

Over the past 7 years, Colorado’s population has increased by over 550,000 residents, and in the Denver Metro area, 24% of the population are millennials. This influx of young Coloradans has resulted in an increase of young entrepreneurs interested in farming.

 

We know how hard it can be to start a farm. The start-up costs, access to land and water, and industry knowledge/technical skills required all pose immense limitations on who can start a farm and where. GoFarm is here to provide the support and mentorship to help passionate beginning farmers be successful, and to strengthen our local food system as a whole!

IMG_4529.jpeg
How to Apply

Beginning and aspiring farmers!

 

For the Incubator Farmer Track, we encourage anyone to apply who has farming experience (volunteering, interning, or work experience) or has completed another farmer training program like those offered by Veterans to Farmers and Frontline Farming. We also encourage applications from anyone who has completed the GoFarm Intern Farmer track or Whole Farm Planning Course, as well as beginning farmers with their own businesses who have been in operation for 1-5 years.

 

The Intro to Farming track is geared towards anyone looking to explore, establish or fine-tune their hobby or career as a market gardener or small-scale farmer. The Student Farmer program is also a great way to access educational resources that could eventually support someone in becoming an Incubator Farmer or farm business owner. 

If you feel like you fall in between the Incubator Farmer and Intro to Farming tracks, please reach out to tessa@gofarm.org and let's chat!

It is highly recommended that people interested in starting a farm business augment the knowledge gained through the Incubator & Intro to Farming tracks with on-farm production experience at a local farm.

The Intern Farmer track is well-suited to people with some farming or gardening experience, who are interested in a career in agriculture and wish to gain some/more hands-on farming experience. Intern Farmers work on Incubator Farmers' farm plots for the much of the growing season, from approximately May-September.

We are dedicated to equity and reducing the barriers to entry into a career in agriculture, especially for historically marginalized communities. Priority admittance will be given to BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, women, refugees, immigrants, and veteran farmers. 

How to Apply

Applications for the Incubator Farmer Track and Student Farmer Track are open until August 18, 2023.

For more detailed information about each track, click the Details & Application buttons below. If you have any questions, reach out to tessa@gofarm.org.

Incubator farmers and Intro to Farming participants receive valuable mentorship from experienced local farmers throughout their time in the program. We’re always looking for experienced farmers to join our network and help mentor beginning farmers. If you are available and willing to lend a hand or an ear to a beginning farmer, contact tessa@gofarm.org about being a mentor. Farmer mentors get paid hourly for mentorship provided.

Incubator Testimonials

Testimonials from Incubator Farmers

This is an awesome program that I have been fortunate to experience firsthand. The stipend has allowed me to decrease my work hours to spend time developing my business and production plan. I was also able to take advantage of all the hands-on training offered through the program and find land to start on after searching for a couple of seasons. I got my FSMA certification, cottage foods certification and attended workshops taught by horticulture professors on pest control, weed and disease ID and got connected with all of the urban farmers in my region. There is no way I could have afforded all the training and resources without the help of the apprenticeship program. My mentors through the GoFarm program have offered priceless guidance and have become dear friends.

 

~ Shannon, Western Flora

Western Flora - Greenhouse.png

As a disabled veteran and apprentice of this program I have greatly appreciate the stepping stones and guidance of starting my own farming business. The mentorship is excellent (Jamie is literally one of the most smartest people I’ve met). Katie the main farmer manager, who runs her own successful farming business and also provides mentorship, has not only been an advocate for some of us that have experienced disadvantages and struggles, but has been truly there for us as a leader and friend. No matter your background, GoFarm welcomes you. Whether you come from privilege, hardships, discrimination, sexism, trauma, racism...etc this is an opportunity for you to empower yourself to become a better farmer, business owner, and human. Farming is therapeutic and without GoFarm’s opportunity I don’t know where I would truly be. I attribute me choosing life to farming and GoFarm has aided me in that journey, so I am forever grateful.

~ Jess, Netzel Farms

ahley - waving.jpeg

So grateful to be a participant in this incubator program. The support and mentorship I’ve received from GoFarm has helped me start a profitable farm business that I can continue to build on over the coming years. I would highly recommend it to anyone who dreams of starting a small farm and is willing to put in the time and effort to make it happen!

 

~ Ashley, Paper Kite Farm

This is an amazing organization/program/network. GoFarm and the farmer incubator program have provided the launching pad and continuous support for numerous urban farms in the Denver Metro area. We are recipients of the MANY perks that come with being involved with GoFarm programs. Even if you only reach out you will be plugging into a passionate and dedicated network in this area.

 ~ Ivan, SoCliff Farm​​

bottom of page