Developing a Beginning Farmer Training Program for Western New York's Minority and Low Resource Farmers

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2020: $30,000.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2021
Grant Recipient: Providence Farm Collective
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Elizabeth Leipler
Providence Farm Collective

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, mentoring
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Providence Farm Collective (PFC) is teaming up with Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and partner farmers to develop a training program specifically designed to meet the expressed needs of PFC’s culturally diverse farmers.  PFC provides farmland, agricultural resources, and educational opportunities to over 100 participating minority and low-resource farmers through an incubator farm program and community organization plot program. Participating farmers are predominantly immigrant and refugee populations with agrarian backgrounds.  Through this project, PFC seeks to develop educational programming to better meet the needs of its diverse farmers.  

    PFC and CCE will work with farmers to determine their educational needs and preferences, creating a curriculum based upon these findings.  The proposed training program will include an 8-workshop sustainable agriculture series, a quarter acre demonstration plot, technical assistance, mentorship, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.  After the training program is developed, it will be implemented over the 2021 growing season.  

    In addition to training, farmers will receive access to prepared farmland and shared tools and infrastructure.  Expected outcomes of this project include: increased farmer knowledge of sustainable production practices, increased productivity and profitability of participating farms, increased access to farmland, and improved well-being of farmers.

    Project objectives from proposal:


    1. This project seeks to develop and implement an effective, audience-specific sustainable agriculture training program including CCE/PFC workshops, field training on PFC's demonstration plot, technical assistance, and mentorship.
      • Expected benefits include increased knowledge of organic production, soil health, crop maintenance, pest and disease management, and marketing.
      • Expected benefits include adoption of learned practices resulting in increased productivity and profitability of participating farms.
    2. This project seeks to increase access to prepared farmland for beginning and aspiring farmers by providing a minimum of 6 acres of plowed, amended, and fenced farmland to be divided among participating farmers.*
      • Expected benefits include providing up to 100 socially disadvantaged farmers with the ability to farm for profit. 
    3. This project seeks to improve farmer well-being through farming at PFC.
      • Expected benefits to farmers include increased access to traditional foods; increased sense of community; increased ability to connect with cultural practices; improved mental health; increased household income.

    *This land will be worked in conjunction with other educational projects being offered to

    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.