The first decade of a farm is full of challenge, sweat, growth, difficult lessons, satisfaction and joy. In order to get more successful farmers on the land, new farmers need to establish their farms in a way that cultivates financial, ecological, personal and relationship sustainability.
Land Stewardship Project’s Journeyperson Course wants to help you achieve these goals.
The two-year Journeyperson Course is designed to support people who have a few years of farm start-up and management under their belt, and are working to take their operation to the next level. Participants will gain assistance moving their farming plans forward through advanced financial planning and one-on-one financial advisement; production assistance through mentorship with an experienced farmer; and guidance on balancing farm, family and personal needs. In addition, through a matched savings account, participants can end the two-year course with $4,800 to invest in a wealth-generating asset.
More specifically, Journeyperson participants will:
- Participate in a weekend-long planning retreat in November 2014 at the Cloquet Forestry Center (Nov. 22-23), a one-day retreat again at the Cloquet Forestry Center on Feb. 15), and a one-day retreat in fall 2015 and fall 2016 (dates TBD). At the retreats, participants will receive in-depth trainings, in addition to time for reflection and a chance to strengthen their farm plans.
- Work with a financial adviser on a quarterly basis to develop and monitor your financial plan, re-planning as needed during the first year of the course. The financial adviser will provide insight, advice and answers to your questions, and will help push your financial literacy for farm planning forward.
- Work with an experienced farmer-mentor through a partnership with the MOSES Mentoring Program, which additionally provides two years of free registration for the MOSES Organic Farming Conference for one member of your farm (contingent upon acceptance by MOSES staff).
- Develop the practice of saving money. LSP will match 100 percent of your savings, up to $2,400, which can be invested in a wealth-generating asset that can help achieve goals.
- Have ongoing check-ins throughout the year with a farmer-peer in the course.
Journeypersons must be farming a piece of land and marketing a product or at the very least have plans to market a product in the years they are participating in the course. Prospects are ideally Farm Beginnings graduates, but others who demonstrate a basic competence in a range of skills and have a solid commitment to making a clear and realistic plan for scaling up and stabilizing their farms are welcome to apply.
The cost of the Journeyperson Course is $800. Applications are due Monday, Sept. 15.
For further information and application materials see our Journeyperson web page.
Cree Bradley is an organizer for LSP’s Farm Beginnings Program and is based in the Lake Superior region.