University of Vermont

Focusing on Beginning Farmers


Project Description: Focusing on Beginning Farmers

Opportunities to Listen and Learn

In this project, farmers are the educators. The fishbowl focus groups are designed to provide a safe space for groups of farmers (aspiring, beginning and established) to talk candidly about their experience, and the kinds of services that they believe can contribute to the success of beginning farmers. The forums are also designed to give service providers the opportunity to listen, observe and learn. Finally, we hope the forum will encourage creativity and problem-solving.

Building a Statewide Beginning Farmer Initiative

The project team will use the information from the focus groups and a companion survey to inform ongoing efforts by the member organizations of the Vermont New Farmer Network to develop and secure funding for an effective, statewide beginning farmer initiative. If you would like more information about that initiative, please contact Beth Holtzman at

Mini Grant Opportunities

Service providers who participate in both a focus group and follow up conference call will be eligible to apply for a mini-grant (up to $1000) to make a change in program delivery or additional stakeholder assessment activities within the next year. A total of $10,000 is available. Mini-grant projects can address any aspect of service delivery to beginning farmers. Proposals should show a clear connection to the needs and priorities that emerged from the focus groups, and they should include a plan to assess the impact on participating farmers. Priority will be given to proposals in which service providers collaborate with each other and/or with farmers who participated in their focus group. More mini grant information

Last modified June 10 2009 02:42 PM

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