Our Beginner Farmer Training Program (BFTP) offers a 12-month immersive training experience that combines a comprehensive classroom curriculum with hands-on learning at some of the region’s leading sustainable farms. Applications for 2023 will be open August 1st – September 30th.
- We offer three training levels, designed to meet the specific needs of beginning farmers at different stages in their careers.
- Level 1: Interested in farming but not sure where to start? Get your hands dirty with hands-on events and online classroom learning in this flexible program designed for folks who still work full time
- Level 2: The flagship level of our program, designed for folks who have some on-farm experience build their skills and launch their farm businesses
- Level 3: A mentorship program for farmers who have started their businesses and seek targeted support in both production and business
- Not sure which level is the best fit? Take our quiz and find out!
- All three levels of the BFTP are FREE and trainees receive a host of benefits: annual FHCASA membership, free admission to our popular winter conference and year-round field days.
- Join a diverse, inclusive network of new and experienced farmers! We are committed to building a safe, supportive network for all trainees, free from discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, religion, veteran status, military obligations, or marital status.
- This is a region-wide program, open to beginning farmers in MD, VA, DE—including the Delmarva Peninsula—and DC, WV, and PA. We offer farmer-to-farmer training opportunities throughout the Chesapeake region, and classroom requirements may be completed in-person or online.
- We offer training in diverse operation types, including: vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, herbs, and livestock at urban, peri-urban, and rural farm settings.
- The program is also designed with built-in scheduling flexibility to allow new farmers to further their training while maintaining their own farms or other work.
- Accessibility: We are committed to making the BFTP accessible to all aspiring farmers. While our programs currently best serve folks located within 2 hours of DC or Baltimore or on the Delmarva peninsula, we work to develop custom learning plans for folks across the Chesapeake region. We want to make this work! Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Meet a few of our BFTP Training Farms. These farmers provide on-farm learning opportunities for our trainees. If you are interested in becoming a training farm, please review our BFTP Trainer Requirements and contact BFTP@futureharvest.org for an application.
Get involved in the BFTP
Whether you are just beginning your journey into farming or are an established farmer interested in becoming a mentor, Future Harvest is here to help you connect to one another. Learn more about how to apply for the BFTP here. The formal, year-long programming for Levels 1, 2, and 3 runs January – December of the calendar year. Applications for the year ahead are open and accepted August 1st – September 30th. We accept training farms and consultants on a rolling basis. If you’d like to talk about the program, please contact us at BFTP@futureharvest.org.
Want to learn a bit more about the BFTP and how it can help you start your own farm journey? Check out this webinar on Following Your Farm Dreams, from the Chesapeake Foodshed Network, featuring former BFTP Director Sarah Sohn and Delmarva Program Manager Niamh Shortt.