Chesapeake ag group offering free farmer training

Future Harvest, Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, is now accepting applications for their Beginner Farmer Training Program. Applications are due October 16.

The Beginner Farmer Training Program (BFTP) offers a 12-month immersive training experience that combines a comprehensive classroom curriculum with hands-on learning at some of the region’s leading sustainable farms. The group’s 2020 program is underway and they are currently accepting applications for next year.

Future Harvest offers three training levels, designed to meet the specific needs of beginning farmers at different stages in their careers.

All three levels of the training programs are free and trainees receive several benefits: annual FHCASA membership, free admission to the Future Harvest winter conference and year-round field days.

“We are committed to building a safe, supportive network for all trainees, free from discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, religion, veteran status, military obligations, or marital status,” the group has said.

This is a region-wide program, open to beginning farmers in  Md., Va., Del.—including the Delmarva Peninsula—and D.C., W.Va., and Pa.  The group offers farmer-to-farmer training opportunities throughout the Chesapeake region, and classroom requirements may be completed in-person or online.

Training is in diverse operation types, including: vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, herbs, and livestock at urban, peri-urban, and rural farm settings.

The program is also designed with built-in scheduling flexibility to allow new farmers to further their training while maintaining their own farms or other work.

For classroom curriculum, there are both in-person and online options.  For on-farm events, if a given site does not meet a trainee’s access needs, Future Harvest will work together to find an alternate option.

Questions?  Email Sarah Sohn, BFTP Director, at:

Applications for the training program are available on the Future Harvest website or by calling 410-549-7878.

Future Harvest’s mission is to advance agriculture that sustains farmers, communities, and the environment. We provide education, networking, advocacy, and research to help build a sustainable Chesapeake foodshed, where food flows from farm and fishery to table in ways that strengthen farming and the regional food economy; protect our land, water, and air; and provide healthy, nutritious food that sustains the region’s communities.