February 2014

Dear Network Members and Friends,


Deep winter may be when the geographical diversity of the Farm-Based Education Network becomes most apparent. In December, students at an elementary school in Moloka'i, HI are engaged in a hands-on study of soil, while staff at the Chewonki Semester School in Mid-Coast Maine shovel two feet of snow to prepare for the new group of semester students.  Our friends at the Himalayan Farm Project in Uttarakhand, India are embarking on a new adventure in 2015: opening their farm to programs around experiential education and awareness building in food and farming, ecology, environment and holistic education. 

Whether this February finds you digging into soil, snow or program design, we wish you a productive and fun 
year ahead.  



Vera Simon-Nobes (Coordinator) and the FBEN team  
FBE Workshops in Colorado and Virginia 
The FBEN is partnering with Cresset Farm to offer a 2-day course, the ABCs of Farm-Based Education in Fort Collins, CO March 28 - 30. Shelburne Farms educators will co-lead the workshop with Jessi Brandt-Feldenkirchen of Cresset Farm, a farmer and educator who attended an ABC's workshop in Vermont in 2014. Registration is open! 

Farm-based educators will also be presenting a workshop at the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museum Annual Conference in Colonial Williamsburg, VA mid-June.

Congratulations Michael O'Gorman 







In January, Michael O'Gorman was awarded the Advocates for Social Justice in Sustainable Agriculture Award on at the EcoFarm Conference in Pacific Grove, CA. 


He began farming in 1970. In 1990, he was hired to run the first organic farm in Salinas, CA. In 2008, he began the Farmer Veteran Coalition out of the back of his pickup truck. The mission of the Farmer Veteran Coalition is to mobilize veterans to feed America. They cultivate a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. 


Congratulations Michael, and thank you for your work! 

New Resources for Agritourism

In 2013, the FBEN began collaborating with Vermont partners to develop a set of resources for farmers who are looking to host the public on their farms through agritourism, education or direct sales. The project culminated last month with the release of a new website and a 13 chapter resource guide that provides helpful tips and best management practices, available here.


Topics include, "How to Host an On-Farm Dinner," "How to Host Summer Camp on Your Farm," "How to Develop a Farm Stay," "Financial and Business Planning for Agritourism," "Safety and Risk Management for Agritourism," and more. The resources are available online through the University of Vermont Extension.

December Learning Journey

In December, FBEN Coordinator, Vera Simon-Nobes and colleagues from Shelburne Farms spent three days visiting educational farms in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. 


They talked with peers to gain ideas and inspiration for educating on farms and reconnected with alumni of the ABCs of Farm-Based Education workshops. The team was inspired by farms that are using poetry and scales, saddles and wagons, costumes and hands-on work to teach the public critical thinking around food production systems. See photos, including the chalkboard egg at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, or read more about their trip...

Farmer Training Hudson Valley

One indicator of a vibrant farm and food sector is the growing number of training programs in a field. The Hudson Valley Farm Hub now joins the likes of the University of California Santa Cruz's Grow A Farmer Program, New York's Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming, and the University of Vermont's Farmer Training Program. It will serve as a regional center for farmer training, agricultural research and demonstration of innovative farm technologies.  


Pictured is the Farm Hub's management team (L to R) John Gill, Associate Director for Farm Operations, Anu Rangarajan, Farm Hub Director, and Jean Paul Courtens, Associate Director for Farmer Training. The group will be spending much of 2015 on in-depth master planning alongside a network of regional and local partner organizations. Learn more about the farm hub...

Soul Fire  Farm-Based Education

Soul Fire Farm in Petersburg, NY is a family farm, community resource, and vessel for education.  It is guided by the words of Curtis Hayes Muhammad, the veteran civil rights activist who said, "Recognize that land and food have been used as a weapon to keep black people oppressed. Recognize also that land and food are essential to liberation for black people." 


In a January 2015 article in "Yes! Magazine", author Leah Penniman discusses the strengths of unique farm-based education initiatives such as Project Growth, which brings groups of convicted teenagers to Soul Fire Farm for internships, where they learn job skills and earn money to pay their restitution.


"If we are to create a society that values black life, we cannot ignore the role of food and land," Penniman writes. "I believe that black people's collective experience with slavery and sharecropping has created an aversion to the land and a sense that the land itself is an oppressor. The truth is that without good land and good food we cannot be truly free."  Learn more about Soul Fire Farm and Freedom Food Alliance...  

Q&A with Littleton Community Farm 

As an emerging organization, Littleton Community Farm in Littleton, NH has started two education programs: the Seed Lending Library and the Littleton Honeybee forum.  Both the seeds and the bees are bringing people out of their isolated backyards, Founder and President Amy Tarlow-Lewis says. The programs give local residents a structure to voice their concerns on bees and seeds.  Read more... 

Year In Review

It's hard to believe another year has flown by! Take a look at the FBEN's Year In Review to see what your network accomplished in 2014. There were workshops, consulting projects, new resources and materials and many, many new members.  

The FBEN would like to extend its gratitude to all of the members who are bringing farm-based education to people around the world, and reporting on their experiences through the FBEN.

 featured Photo

Courtesy of Jones Family Farms, Lopez Island, Washington. They write, "Lopez Island is about 29.5 square miles, and was uniquely created by tectonic events. Composed of Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks, it's relatively flat topography and fertile soil made it the largest producer of agricultural products in the San Juans by the late 1800s. This land and soil now produces our food and feeds our animals. So the next time you are playing in the dirt stop and think about its rich history."
in this Issue
Colorado Workshop
New Resources
Learning Journey
Farmer Training
Soul Fire
Q&A Member Spotlight
Year in Review
Featured Photo
get involved
   FB_logotwitter bird
conversations and 
How-To Resources for Agritourism and Education
The FBEN partnered with several other groups in Vermont to author and adapt resources for farmers offering agritourism and specific on-farm activities. The guide is comprised of 13 individual chapters.

Farm to School Webinar Series
USDA Farm to School staff and guest speakers have just what you need to start or expand your farm to school program in the new year. This 11-part webinar series will help you build your farm to school skills and develop new strategies. 

A new resource designed specifically to help farmers connect and partner with land trusts.


National Farmers Union Educational Materials

Educational materials for grades 1-12 that local, state and regional Farmers Union education leaders use in day classes, camps, and other teaching opportunities.

Watch a a panel discussion at the Food Tank Summit on January 22 address how international agreements such as the Milan Protocal can provide hope for the future around key themes such as nutrition and obesity, food waste and sustainable agriculture.

Authors, educators, and activists team up to offer a spring course available live at UC Berkeley, online. Guest lecturers include Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Marion Nestle, Eric Schlosser, Raj Patel and more. 


Educational resources help farmers identify legal issues, break them down into manageable steps, and give farmers the confidence to move forward.

Shelburne, VT

March 13 - 15

Wichita, KS
March 13 - 15

Santa Cruz, CA
March 21

Chicago, IL
March 21

Santa Cruz, CA
March 26 

New London, CT
March 27 - 28

Fort Collins, CO

March 28 - 29

Rutland, VT
April 7 - 8 

Philadelphia, PA
April 29 

Williamsburg, VA
June 18 - 23

View events page for more!
job Opportunities
Moab, UT

Calcedonia, IL

Calcedonia, IL

Lincoln, MA

Ipswich and Hamilton, MA

Chimacum, WA

Bellingham, WA

Jefferson, MD

Richmond, VT

Richmond, VT

Thayne, WY

Putnam Valley, NY

Putnam Valley, NY

Ipswich, MA

Olympia, WA

Cincinnati, OH

View jobs page for more!

Shelburne Farms serves as the backbone organization for the FBEN.