How You Can Help
Support Our Programs
Developing a New Farmer Workforce
Since the Beginner Farmer Training Program (BFTP) launched 14 years ago, Future Harvest has trained more than 400 farmers across the Chesapeake region in sustainable and regenerative practices. Our Beginner Farmer Training Program (BFTP) offers a 12-month immersive training experience, free of charge, that combines a comprehensive classroom curriculum with hands-on learning at some of the region’s leading sustainable farms.
Connecting the Ag Community to Learning and Networking
Even during the pandemic, our annual winter conference brought more than 500 farmers, educators, agriculture service providers, and foodpreneurs together (online) for workshops, peer-to-peer learning, and annual traditions like our Farmer of the Foodshed Awards and Membership Meeting. Back in person for 2023, we expect to see more than 700 attendees gather at The Hotel at UMD January 12-14, 2023.
Educating on Sustainable Growing
The Field School is a series of educational programs offered throughout the year. We partner with the Chesapeake region’s leading farmers, researchers, and technical service providers to offer hands-on learning and skills building opportunities, professional development opportunities, and exposure to the latest research and trends in agriculture. Our programs follow a farmer-to-farmer learning model and are conducted through a variety of formats: field tours, hands-on days, intensives, panel discussions, and webinars. All experience levels are welcome to engage in our on-farm events, webinars, and workshops.
The Niamh Shortt Memorial Education Fund
In honor of Niamh and in partnership with her family, friends, and colleagues, this fund offers small grants directly to farmers to increase access to critical hands-on educational experiences. The fund aims to foster the growth of practical skill-sets and networking of Chesapeake farmers. Niamh was a woman who bravely followed her passions in life. Anyone who had the privilege of interacting with Niamh, in her role as Future Harvest’s Field School Director, was better for it — because foremost in her mind was to listen and translate what she learned into meaningful action. Donate to this fund to help us carry on her passionate mission.
Support Regional Farmers
Find a Local Farmer
The most direct way to support sustainable agriculture in our region is to purchase directly from a farmer. Use our Find-a-Farmer Map, made in collaboration with the Maryland Farmers Market Association (MDFMA), Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), and Delmarva Grown, to locate a farm or market selling fresh produce, meats, flowers, grains, or dairy near you. Read about growing practices, how to place an order, where to purchase, and more.
Help Farmers Fighting Hunger
Future Harvest recognizes the incredibly important role that our farmers play when times are good, and especially now, when times are rough. Our “Feed the Need” Fund was created to help farmers weather market changes caused by the pandemic and provide food access in a variety of ways. We raised funds to provide cash mini-grants to farmers, ranging from $2,250-$2,500, to help them address food access in our communities.
Access to AG Education
It is important to us that every farmer seeking to learn best practices for land and sustainability be able to attend our year-round programming, and also that the farmers who give their time to host educational events are compensated. By contributing to the Field School, you allow us to offer free tickets to events on a needs basis and pay our region’s farmers for their expertise.
Make a Gift to Future Harvest
Become a Conference Sponsor
Our annual conference is the Mid-Atlantic’s premier opportunity for farm-related organizations and product vendors to connect directly with farmers, food system professionals, homesteaders and agtivists in our foodshed. Our event attracts small- to mid-scale growers working with fruit and vegetables, flowers, poultry, small ruminants, and more. Whether you provide seed and feed, farm machinery and implements, fencing, land management, infrastructure services, or opportunities through non-profits, government agencies, and academic institutions, our attendees come ready to engage.