Over the past few years NOFA-VT, in collaboration with NOFA-VT’s Farm to Community Mentor Scout Proft from Someday Farm and the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL), has been working on a Farm Worker Learning Collaborative in Rutland County. This year the CRAFT program is expanding into Addison County with leadership from Becky Maden of Singing Cedars Farmstead, and organizational support from NOFA-VT. Both of these programs, modeled off other CRAFT programs, seek to educate farm workers and provide support for farm owners through community based on-farm training. The CRAFT program consists of visits to neighboring farms where farm workers and apprentices receive intensive tutorials on a variety of topics, compare production methods and meet other beginning farmers. CRAFT was designed to get interested people onto working farms and give them the tools to succeed, both as farm workers and as future farm owners.
The Rutland CRAFT program recently started their 2015 season with enthusiasm. The first of several gatherings was held at Earth Sky Time Community Farm in Manchester. Bonnie and Oliver Levis led the tour of their farm, walking through lush aromatic greenhouses and rows of arugula, tomatoes and radishes, while a large group of farm workers and owners followed along asking questions about their greenhouse production and early season greens. After the tour had ended, everyone gathered on their historic white porch to share in a potluck dinner with new neighbors as the sun set behind the chicken coops.
This year both CRAFT programs will lead several on-farm trainings and tours at different farms throughout Addison and Rutland County. For more information on CRAFT and how to get involved, please contact Rachel Fussell, NOFA-VT’s Education Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jen Miller, RAFFL’s New Farmer Coordinator, at email@example.com.