Tag Archives: business planning

Journey Farmer Social

The new cohort of NOFA-VT’s 2015 Journey Farmers gathered in Richmond, Vermont for a Sonoran-themed lunch and educational workshop on April 18.

Everyone shared a delicious meal together and were able to share various farm challenges, successes and excitement for the coming summer season. They were joined by Richard Wiswall from Cate Farm who gave an in-depth workshop on cost benefit and enterprise analysis.

With full bellies and minds, the Journey Farmers left the social abuzz with new ideas and connections.

Read more about NOFA-VT’s Journey Farmer program »

Bulk Order 2015 – 3 MORE DAYS TO PLACE YOUR ORDER!

Order from deadline – February 6 Bulk Order Pick Up Day – March 7, 9 am – 3 pm
Order from deadline – 2/6/15
Pick Up Day – 3/7, 9am–3pm

Order from deadline – February 6
Bulk Order Pick Up Day – March 7, 9 am – 3 pm

Every spring, NOFA Vermont holds an annual bulk order of farming and gardening supplies. Through the bulk order, NOFA members and the general public can purchase quality farm and garden supplies, which meet the National Organic Standards at “bulk” prices. All income generated from the Bulk Order goes to support NOFA Vermont’s Vermont’s Farm to Community Mentor Program which builds partnerships between schools, farmers, and their communities.

This year there are more than 30 new items for farmers, gardeners and homesteaders! We are introducing several animal feed supplement and healthcare products, more forms of pest control, and new fertilizers and amendments.

Items available through the bulk order include:

  • fertilizers and soil amendments
  • potting soil
  • compost products
  • pest controls
  • cover crop seeds
  • animal feed supplements and healthcare products
  • gardening and marketing items such as field stakes, trellis, bags, bunching bands, and berry baskets

Forms are mailed to NOFA members and interested individuals in January of each year. To place an order, simply fill out the bulk order form and return it to the office by the February 6 deadline. Items are picked up in March at one of the several depots located throughout Vermont. Order forms are available online.

For more information or to receive a bulk order form in the mail contact the NOFA office at nofabulkorder@nofavt.org or 802-434-4122.

S’ra DeSantis, NOFA-VT Bulk Order Coordinator

Helping Farmers Grow Up to Be Successful

There has been a lot of great discussion going on in response to the recent New York Times editorial, Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers. Author and farmer Bren Smith laments the fact that, despite a great resurgence of interest in food and in farming as a career, making a profitable business out of farming is still a huge challenge.

At NOFA-VT, we firmly believe that sustainable farming must include the farm’s financial stability.

That’s why we put so much energy into building diverse markets and educating consumers, and why our technical assistance and farmer training programs include business planning, enterprise analysis, and marketing alongside soil management and weed control. We advocate on state and federal levels for legislation that supports small-scale, family, and organic farms. Along with our six sister NOFA chapters (plus MOFGA!), we’re able to conduct regional projects and be a strong voice for New England farmers on national issues.

Smith suggests, rightly, that farmers and those who care about their food need to organize to make the substantial changes in the food system that will be required for farmers to succeed. We’ve been working with Vermont farmers and in the regional food system for over 40 years, and we hope that you’ll join us as we continue to work towards the goals of successful local farms, healthy food, and strong communities.

Join us buttonAll farmers and their supporters are welcome as members. Help us improve the viability of Vermont’s farmers and the vitality of our rural communities – become a member today!

Improve Your Farm Business: A program guide

A successful farm requires solid business and management skills as well as the ability to judge when a tomato is ripe or a calf is sick. There are a number of resources in Vermont designed to help beginning (and experienced) farmers cultivate their management, accounting, planning, and organizing skills – and many of them have enrollment deadlines coming up soon!

Jake Torrey of Honey Locust Farm in Bradford, VT, is a 2013 Journey Farmer.
Jake Torrey of Honey Locust Farm in Bradford, VT, is a 2013 Journey Farmer.

One such program is NOFA Vermont’s Journey Farmer program, designed to help beginning farmers succeed by matching them with experienced farmer mentors, providing them with educational opportunities (including free entrance to our upcoming Winter Conference and an educational stipend), and providing personalized technical and business planning assistance. The application period for this program is currently open through December 18. The Journey Farmer Program is for farmers with a few years of experience, secured access to land, and the intention to farm commercially in Vermont.

If you don’t fit that description, or have different needs, there are other great programs available for everyone from experienced farmers looking to expand or diversify, to aspiring farmers and entrepreneurs interested in testing the waters. Continue reading Improve Your Farm Business: A program guide

Food+Co-ops: Farm Viability—Strong Networks & Thriving Farms

As you may have heard, 97% of Vermonters value the working landscape. But what’s the difference between the working landscape and a pretty view? One simple answer is: farm viability.

Enid Wonnacott and colleagues at the 2008 National Farm Viability Conference
NOFA-VT Executive Director Enid Wonnacott (center, in pink) and colleagues at the 2008 National Farm Viability Conference

The state of Vermont is widely recognized for the strength of its community-based food system. One of the core assets in this system is the Farm Viability Program of the VT Housing & Conservation Board, which works to increase the success of Vermont’s land-based businesses.

VHCB recently hosted a national conference focused on farm viability, to share the love. As VHCB Executive Director Gus Seelig noted, “The National Farm Viability Conference was a great success, drawing 200 practitioners from 18 states working to improve rural economy and reinvent a better food system for farmers and consumers.”

Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross added, “The conference underscored the importance of technical assistance to the success of our farming enterprises and the entrepreneurs who run the operations.”

The thing that made this event powerful was the same factor that makes the VT Farm Viability Program so effective: Networks. Just as VHCB partners with an array of technical assistance providers to help farms better plan their businesses, this conference convened a broad range of stakeholders dedicated to a sustainable local/regional food system to “network, develop new knowledge and skills, and visit farms and value-added processing facilities.”

But what did the conference mean to those who were there—both Vermonters and leaders from elsewhere in the US? And what does it say about the opportunity the VT Farm Viability Program provides to Vermont farmers and food system businesses? Continue reading Food+Co-ops: Farm Viability—Strong Networks & Thriving Farms