Farm Foundations Short Course for Beginning Farmers of Specialty Crops

Project Overview

Project Type: Education Only
Funds awarded in 2024: $49,995.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2026
Grant Recipient: University of Arkansas
Region: Southern
State: Arkansas
Principal Investigator:
Heather Friedrich
University of Arkansas
Dr. Jennie Popp
University of Arkansas


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

The goals of this project are to reach aspiring and beginning
farmers with a series of in-depth short courses that are based on
the Center for Arkansas Farms and Food, Farm School curriculum.
Seventy-five unique participants will be reached through six
short courses over two years. Participants will be trained at the
CAFF Farm School field and classroom facilities, in Fayetteville
AR, on sustainable specialty crop production methods and business
practices for local food markets.  The project will leverage
existing resources including a tested farmer training curriculum
based on experiential learning methods, farm training facilities
and instructor experiences, a strong state-wide CAFF following
with over 3000 Facebook followers and 1000 members in the CAFF
database, and established relationships with successful local
farmers and farm support organizations. At project completion,
participants will have increased knowledge, skills and confidence
to increase their farm production with organic and regenerative
methods and increase their distribution through sales or
donations. Pre- and post-course assessments will determine
changes in knowledge and confidence and an end-of-project
evaluation will assess the impact of the trainings.

Project objectives from proposal:

The overarching goal of this project is increase the
accessibility of the CAFF Farm School content by repackaging
select modules into an intensive short-course format.

Based on this goal, our specific objectives include:

  1. Reach 75 farmers/aspiring farmers in six short courses over a
    two-year timeline
  2. Improve the knowledge and confidence of participants in
    specific specialty crop production and business topic areas
    through pre and post tests.
  3. Show a measurable increase in the amount of produce sold or
    donated by participants through an end-of-project evaluation.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.