WALTON, NY -- The newly established Catskills Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) today announced its 2011 beginning farmer training schedule and website at www.CatskillsCRAFT.org. CRAFT offers farmer-to-farmer learning and access to the social network and culture of local farming.
From June through November, beginning farmers are invited to gather at a farm for an instructional visit. There are six Monday evening visits planned for the 2011 season. Each visit includes an overview of the farm as well as a hands-on demonstration of one or two specific topics. The end of the season closes with a final farm visit and planning session for the following year's tours.
CRAFT host farms demonstrate the growing diversity of agriculture in the region and address a range of relevant agricultural challenges and techniques. A full schedule and host farm background can be found at www.CatskillsCRAFT.org.
The first farm visit will take place at Willow Wisp Organic Farm (www.willowwisporganic.com). A former farm apprentice, Greg Swartz began his own operation just a few years ago and believes strongly that mentorship is the key to success in a field that requires a diverse set of skills. Willow Wisp Organic Farm's visit will focus on transitioning from apprenticeship to independent management, general start-up requirements, and evaluating local market outlets. A potluck supper will follow.
Catskills CRAFT was made possible through a contribution of FarmHearts (www.farmhearts.org) to the Watershed Agricultural Council (www.nycwatershed.org). "FarmHearts is delighted to have been able to support the Catskills CRAFT initiative which supports the next generation of farmers," board member Laurie McFadden commented.
Fiscal sponsorship for Farmhearts is provided by the Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development (www.sasdonline.org). For more information about Farmhearts contact [email protected]. The Watershed Agricultural Council is funded by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other public, foundation and private sources. The purpose of Council is to protect both the rural, land-based economy of the watershed region and the drinking water quality of over nine million people. Working with farmers, agribusinesses, forest landowners, forest industry professionals and others, the Council seeks to enhance both business profitability and environmental stewardship. It also champions the use of conservation easements as an option to keep land within a working landscape context. The Council works through partnerships with other nonprofit organizations, government agencies and community stakeholders to achieve its purpose. For more information, visit www.nycwatershed.org.
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