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Professional Development Resources for Farmers

Interested in professional development resources for farming? GrowBoston has compiled these resources for new and experienced farmers alike to improve their farming skills. 

Whether you are a novice or seasoned farmer, these resources can help you manage your farm, develop your business, and strengthen your farming capacity. 

Local Resources (New England-Based)

Local Resources

Beginner Farmer’s Network Massachusetts is an association of Massachusetts farmers. They share resources, strategies, and tips for farming in Massachusetts. There are resources for new farmers, experienced farmers, and those interested in farming.

The Carrot Project offers many professional development programs. Programs include skills workshops for farmers and business management. Their programs focus on financial advice and coaching for farmers.

Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) in Eastern Massachusetts, brings together farm workers and apprentices from CRAFT farms at farm sites across Massachusetts to discuss farming topics. The goal of CRAFT is to build a community of farmers and exchange ideas. Their website features their email list, discussion notes, and resources from past meetings.

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) has a diversity of resources for farmers, including a Local Hero program to connect farmers to their communities, business assistance programs and workshops, and tipsheets and other resources. Their tipsheets cover topics such as marketing, farmers' markets, crop storage, and CSAs.

Freight Farms is a Boston urban farming company that has webinars and events related to urban agriculture. Topics include food justice, technology, and profiles of successful small urban farms. Additionally, customers of Freight Farms get access to  professional development support and training program.

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) offers courses, training, and workshops to Massachusetts farmers. The courses include a training program for retiring farmers and a series on starting a farm business.

Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC) is a network of small business owners and entrepreneurs in Massachusetts. They focus on building collective knowledge and sharing resources through workshops among small businesses of different sectors in Massachusetts to help small businesses thrive. 

New England Farmers of Color Land Trust is an informal network of BIPOC farmers that builds community among BIPOC farmers, shares skills and resources, and coordinates policy demands.

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (NESFP) is a Tufts University project. They offer courses for farmers including for those looking to start a farm and for farmers to grow their farms. NESFP also offers ongoing technical support for farmers.

Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) holds conferences and workshops on carbon sequestration, organic agriculture, and more. Monthly, NOFA hosts a roundtable discussion on best soil health practices. Here, farmers can ask questions and share resources. NOFA also gives technical aid to farmers with bad soil.

Red Tomato is a food hub for New England growers, distributors, and grocers. They have a personalized advice program for farmers, an Eco certification program to help farmers grow organic food, and access to a network of innovative farmers and grocers.

Seeds of Solidarity is an education center for farmers based in Orange, MA. They share resources, have a regular newsletter, and run programs on different agricultural topics. Some workshop topics include planting tips, no-till farming methods, and harvesting strategies.

Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership has various farmer assistance programs and resources on their website. They offer guides for farmers interested in HIP/SNAP, business development and assistance, and a resource library that has a wealth of information on different agricultural topics such as sustainability, marketing and business planning, and finances.

UMass Extension at UMass Amherst has a Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment. They offer educational resources for anyone interested in agricultural subjects such as orchard planning, pesticide management systems, and crop insurance.

The Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass Amherst offers various degree and certification programs for farmers. Their offerings include programs for sustainable food and farming, arboriculture and urban forestry, and plant and soil sciences.

Urban Farming Institute hosts a program to train urban farmers. The program is open to all, but with a focus on applicants from Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. Their courses cover building resilient food systems, business planning, organic agriculture, and more.

World Farmers is an organization dedicated to uplifting and training immigrant and refugee farmers. They host a mentorship program that helps farmers of all experience levels find appropriate mentorship and assistance.

National Resources

National Resources

The USDA has an Urban Agriculture resource page, as one of their priorities is supporting urban agriculture. They offer many resources, including links to grants, support programs, and educational resources. Check out this resource that gives a quick overview of all the USDA’s urban agriculture support programs.

National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers free technical and financial support for urban farmers. They support developing weed and pest management strategies, composting facilities, irrigation, and more. Apply on their website or visit a NRCS field office to discuss urban farming techniques with an expert. has resources on business management, technical farm aid, and selling produce. These resources include grants, educational toolkits, personalized help, and more.

General Educational Resources

General Resources

Am Hydro Learning Center offers educational resources on hydroponics technologies for new farmers. Keep up to date with innovations with their hydroponics dictionary, overview of the technology, and educational videos on hydroponics.

Polygreens Podcast features two leaders in the urban farming field. They discuss urban farming topics with guests each week. Episodes include how to grow an urban farming business, new innovations, interesting urban farming companies, and more.

The Urban Farm Podcast Library has over 700 episodes of a podcast on urban farming. They dive into new topics with new guests each week. Topics include seed saving, starting an urban farm, indoor farming technologies, and more.

University of Illinois Extension: Local Foods and Small Farms has a Youtube channel for farmers. It features recorded webinars from their Small Farms Winter Webinar Series. Topics include vermicomposting, regenerative agriculture, aquacultures and aquaponics, and more.

Freedom Farmers is a Canadian company that offers virtual courses for anyone interested in starting a microgreen business.

The Urban Farmer offers online guided courses for new urban farmers and microgreen farmers. 

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