$100 – $150

Exploring the Small Farm Dream Course

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100 5th Street Northeast

Charlottesville, VA 22902

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Dates: October 23, 30 and November 6, 13

This four-week course is for people considering launching a small farm enterprise but are not sure where to start. Designed to guide students through an initial exploratory decision-making process, Exploring the Small Farm Dream bridges the gap between ideas and action. This course provides in-class exercises, homework, research and class discussions that will help you assess your skills and resources.

This fall, Exploring the Small Farm Dream will be taught by Ellen Polishuk, formerly of Potomac Vegetable Farms and author of ‘Start Your Farm: The Authoritative Guide to Becoming a Sustainable 21st Century Farmer’. She is a well-known dynamic speaker, very down-to-earth and can make complicated topics accessible to all kinds of listeners. She is passionate about food, farming and biological agriculture and conveys that energy through her teaching.

Course Outline


Class 1: Expressing Farm Vision and Evaluating Goals

This first class will focus on assessing yourself and mapping out your farm vision. We will review the objectives of the course, meet and engage with other classmates and work through in-class exercises and discussions.

A week before the first class, students will be given a section of the course workbook to read and will be asked to fill out a couple of the worksheet to bring with them the first day.

Class 2: Researching the Landscape and Interviewing Current Farm Innovators

During the second class, we will cover local farming trends, helpful resources, important business regulations, and continue with in-class exercises and discussion.

The class will culminate with a panel of local farmers and food industry experts to tell their experiences and offer advice. Homework will include conducting a research interview with a local farmer.

Class 3: Assessing Resources and Risk

The third class delves into the resources that you currently have, what you need and discuss ways that you can access your business needs.

Guest speakers will highlight ways to secure land for a farming operation. A local attorney will discuss leasing arrangements and Rex Linville, PEC's land conservation officer, will review how easements can help farmers get on the land.

Class 4: Decision-Making and Next Steps

This class will review the work covered over the last three weeks and identify the next steps in developing your farm business.

There will be a focus on finances with guest speakers highlighting loan, grant and other resources and opportunities.



Questions? Contact Jess Palmer at jpalmer@pecva.org

This class is funded by a grant from the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation (CACF).

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100 5th Street Northeast

Charlottesville, VA 22902

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