‘Exploring the Small Farm Dream’
Participants will be guided through a series of exercises to assess knowledge and skills, financial and physical resources and market and revenue potential.
According to Berry, the course is designed as a critical thinking experience without specific information on individual production systems. “We are learning about and practicing building our individual and group capacity to discover what questions are significant and then where and how to research answers.”
While the course doesn’t specifically address the growing interest in organic farming, the approach allows for exploration of such topics. “If someone in the course is interested in organics, we work with them to get what they need,” said Berry. “For example, we review and discuss consumer demands and consumer demographics, which covers some material on organics in the marketplace and on consumers’ minds.”
Berry will also discuss why most new and beginning farmers may want to focus their farm dreams on non-commodity agriculture and instead explore the possibilities from fruit, vegetables, flowers, farm bakery and agri-tourism, which can be accomplished with fewer acres and allow for closer customer contact. “We are up against all the hungry consumers between Boston, MA and Raleigh NC. The consumer is seeking the food system expert, and farmers are it,” he noted. “This concept can be used to build a business.”
Contact Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610/391-9840 for more information. The course will be held on Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 1, 8, 15 and 22 at the Wayne County Park Street Complex at 648 Park St. in Honesdale. Visit extension.psu.edu/start-farming/courses/exploring-the-small-farm-dream or www.pasmallfarmdream.info for information on registration, which will be accepted until March 1. Included with registration is “Exploring the Small Farm Dream,” a workbook developed by the New England Small Farm Institute.