Pick-Your-Own Consultant

Launched in 2021, this program links farmers up with the consultant of their choice, providing them with the opportunity to strengthen their business and address challenges with the support of in-depth, free-for-the-farmer discussions with experts. In the first year, we awarded 31 $1,000 vouchers to farmers to work one-on-one with accounting, legal, logistics, and insurance consultants. Future Harvest believes that for agriculture to be truly sustainable, the goals of healthy profit, healthy planet, and healthy people must be advanced together.Now in our second year of this popular program, we’ve linked up an additional 37 farmers up with regional experts and $1,000 vouchers for consulting.

Applicants are invited to identify their top two priorities for working with a consultant and choose the consultant they are most interested in working with – either from our list of consultants or from their own research and interests. Topics farmers have requested range from improved marketing plans and financial record keeping systems to creating nutrient management plans and enhanced soil fertility regimes. 

All farmers are encouraged to apply in the spring. Preference is given to farmers with 5+ years of experience, Future Harvest members, and farmers from socially and/or economically marginalized backgrounds.

APPLY TODAY

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I work with a consultant/advisor who isn’t on the list?
Yes! You’ll just need to include their name and contact information on the application HERE.

Can I work with more than one consultant?
We strongly suggest you work with just one
consultant so you can get the most out of your time together. However, you can work with up to two consultants. You will need to identify both consultants. Just remember the total amount each awardee has to work with is $1,000.

$1000 isn’t enough for my needs.
While awards are capped at $1000, we encourage you to apply to at least offset some of the costs of the services your farm requires.

Will I need to pay the consultant?
Nope! If you are selected to be part of this program, we will send additional instructions. The consultant/advisor will invoice Future Harvest, and we’ll handle payment.

Are all of the consultants on this list available for consulting during the 2022/2023 PYOC cycle? 

Check the third-to-last row on the table where consultants are listed to make sure they are participating this year.

Does the consultant I’m interested in working with work with farmers with all levels of experience?

Check the second-to-last row on the table where consultants are listed to see if they have an experience level cut-off point.

Questions? Email Niamh Shortt at niamh@futureharvest.org


OUR CONSULTANTS

Vanguard Ranch

Gordonsville, VA

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Ellen Polishuk

Plant to Profit

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Daniel Sweeney

Seven Springs Farm Supply

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Liz Reitzig

Nourishing Liberty

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Elaine Lemmon

Kitchen Table Consultants

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Julia Shanks

Julia Shanks Food Consulting

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Michelle Elston

Roots Cut Flower Farm

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Adrienne Granston

Real Estate Agent & Cusheeba Earth Farm

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Ayo Ngozi Drayton

The Creative Root

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T. K. Farris

OurSpace World

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Rich Kolm

Farm Infrastructure Consultant

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Ben Hartman

Clay Bottom Farm

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Patrick Johnson

Diversity Permaculture

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Dr. Marcus Comer

Extension Specialist & Associate Professor at Virginia State University

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Caitlin Patton

Caitlin Patton Consulting

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WHAT PARTICIPANTS ARE SAYING

“The Pick-Your-Own-Consultant program was exactly what I needed to get this season off to a great start. It motivated me to really focus on an issue I have wanted to tackle for years. I feel empowered by the knowledge I gained, and I know the relationship I built with my consultant will continue to serve my farm in the future. The application process was so straightforward, and I loved the flexibility I had to find consulting specific to my farm’s needs.” Kathleen Moss, Foxbriar Farm

“The PYO Consultant program was a game changer for our business. We absolutely would not have the confidence or ability to make a smooth transition to our new farm without our consultant’s help, and we could not have afforded Michelle without the PYO Consultant program.” Laura Beth Resnick, Butterbee Farm

“We had never had a farm consultant before participating in this program and were not sure what it would look like. After a farm visit and several virtual meetings, our consultant helped us think through some big infrastructure and equipment decisions, likely saving us lots of money. She also identified the need for a more rigorous soil nutrient plan. In hindsight, the biggest benefit was having another set of knowledgeable eyes take a look at our work and see areas for improvement that were invisible to us!” Arden Jones, Great Day Gardens

“Liz was very informative and really pushed me to think outside the box! The skills that I learned as a result of her consultation are extremely helpful. The strategies and promotional materials we created will have a lasting positive impact on the CCI farm, community, and our financial sustainability.”  Matthew Williams, Conscious Connections Inc.

“This program will help you and your farm be stronger and improve in ways you didn’t know were possible. The consultants are relatable, friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. Many live and farm nearby so they can relate. I would highly recommend this program.” Jenni Hoover, Serenity Grove Farm

“I hope this program continues and others will get to reap the rewards of talking with Ben and other consultants.” John Minetola, Mise En Place Farm

“What a gift this program is to farmers!  Every farmer would benefit from having a farming consultant.  There is no doubt.  Whether it is year 1 or year 20, farmers are used to adapting and changing and it is so helpful to get perspective from another person.  I highly support funding for this program, so that we can create more sustainable farmers, who can do this for the long haul.” Lee O’Neill, Radical Roots Farm 


This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIVA under Award Number 2018-70027-28588 and is supported by the Northeast Extension Risk Management Education Center (NERME). NERME provides competitive grants that fund education projects focused on helping farmers and ranchers successfully manage the unique risks associated with production agriculture across the northeast. 

ABOUT FUTURE HARVEST

Building a sustainable foodshed from farm and fishery to table