Beginner Farmer Training Program

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 the next calendar year are open August 15th – October 15th.

  • We offer three training levels, designed to meet the specific needs of beginning farmers at different stages in their careers.
  • 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. For classroom curriculum, there are both in-person and online options.  For on-farm events, if a given site does not meet a trainee’s access needs, we will work together to find an alternate option.  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 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. We accept training farms and consultants on a rolling basis. 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 15th – October 15th. If you’d like to talk about the program, please contact us at

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.


Building a sustainable foodshed from farm and fishery to table