Seeding on the Farm

Farmer Development and Support

Beginning Farmer Training

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

The GoFarm Beginning Farmer Training program trains and mentors beginning farmers, helping them start their own farm and reducing the barriers of entry into a career in agriculture, especially for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, women and veteran farmers who have historically been denied access to many of the resources needed to begin a farm. We provide access to land, infrastructure, technical assistance, classroom curriculum, mentorship, workshops, and networking, and cater to many different experience levels and interests.

Incubator Farming

The Incubator Farming track is a 2-year commitment that is designed for beginning farmers who, upon graduation, are expected to launch or continue an independent urban or small scale farm business producing specialty crops. Incubator farmers are provided year-round training, mentoring and technical assistance, as well as access to an urban farm plot, water, and equipment. This includes participation in the Whole Farm Planning Course, monthly workshops, and personalized, 1:1 support throughout the program. The program is designed to allow incubator farmers to maintain a part-time job outside of being an incubator farmer.

Internship

The internship lasts for one summer season. Interns gain farming experience by assisting incubator farmers in the fields, as well as gain exposure to many aspects of the local food system including buying, distributing, and marketing. Internships are part-time and can be flexible with your schedule.

Internship applications are now closed. Opportunities for the summer 2023 season will open in the spring of 2023.

Whole Farm Planning Course (WFPC)

16-week course that is focused on education around operating a farm business. The GoFarm WFPC is designed for people who are interested in learning more about local agriculture and/or who may want to start or scale up their own farm in the future. Taking this course is a great way to gain the necessary knowledge to become a GoFarm Incubator Farmer, or simple learn about everything that goes into running your own farm. WFPC students will also be able to attend monthly workshops from March-October.

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!

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Beginning and aspiring farmers! We encourage anyone to apply who has any farming experience (volunteering, interning, or work experience) or has completed another farmer training program like Veterans to Farmers. We also encourage anyone who has completed the GoFarm internship or WFPC and beginning farmers with their own businesses who have been in operation for 1-5 years to apply. Historically marginalized communities, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), members of the LGBTQIA+ community, refugees, immigrants, people with disabilities, and veterans, are given priority in the application process.

Applications for the Incubator Farmer and Whole Farm Planning Course are currently open. Applications are due on August 12, and the program starts on September 29th. 

 

To meet the GoFarm team and learn more the Beginning Farmer Training opportunities, join us on July 30th for a Meet and Greet! RSVP here

For more detailed information about the program, download the information sheet below.

To apply, fill out the google form below. If you have any questions, reach out to kevin@gofarm.org.

Incubator farmers 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 Kevin@gofarm.org about being a mentor. Farmer mentors get paid hourly for mentorship provided.

 

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

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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

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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​​