Circles of Resilience, by and for Farmers

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2023: $45,757.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2024
Grant Recipient: Farm Commons
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Rachel Armstrong
Farm Commons


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, mentoring
  • Farm Business Management: business planning, risk management

    Proposal abstract:

    Our environmentally sensitive and direct to consumer farmers are only sustainable if they can keep running their farm businesses year after year. When legal difficulties such as insurance issues, partnership and transition problems, and employment law challenges, and challenging land access harm the operation, farms falter and many fail. Farmers themselves lie awake at night worrying if they are at risk and wondering how to resolve it. The solution isn’t just more information and increased knowledge (although that plays a role and we ensure access to information). Farmers need the support of their peers - support that reminds them they are wise, they are capable, and it is worthwhile to proactively resolve legal issues. This project creates that through Circles of Resilience- a peer support mechanism where sustainable and direct to consumer farmers in the North Central region discuss issues of legal resilience in small groups, with Circle Leaders at the helm who are also farmers. As a result, we will witness improved quality of life, stronger support networks, greater legal resilience for farmers, as well as the continued leadership development of farmers themselves on legal issues. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Improve quality of life for 40 North Central farmers through 1) improved confidence in handling legal issues on their farm, and 2) stronger support networks around the legal issues they face.
    2. Increase the legal resilience of 22 North Central farmers through 1) achievement of one of 10 key risk reducing actions and 2) intention to achieve an additional key risk reducing action. 
    3. Improve quality of life for 4 farmer Circle Leaders through 1) improved confidence in supporting peers addressing legal issues, and 2) improved sense of their own qualities as a leader in the sustainable agriculture community.
    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.