Supporting dedicated farmers who are ready to grow their Southern Appalachian agri-businesses
Starting a farm is a formidable challenge, but keeping a farm business going, growing, and thriving is even harder!
The Journeyperson Program is designed for farmers who have been independently farming for three or more years and are serious about operating farm businesses in the Southern Appalachian region. This program will give you the space and time to work on your business's scale, viability, and long-term direction while making connections that deepen peer-to-peer support.
Limited spots are available for the full program, and those who want to be eligible for our Savings Incentive Program and the professional development funds must commit to participating in all aspects of the program.
What makes the Journeyperson program unique?
Participants can use this program as a tangible step toward achieving their farm goals, and make significant contributions to the agricultural community and economy.
This program is designed to give tailored guidance and support for your farm business to answer questions of:
Understanding cash flow
Eligible applicants have:
A minimum of three years independently farming
A demonstrated commitment to farming in the Southern Appalachian region
Production goals of feeding their community and region
A demonstrated commitment to sustainable practices
Although not required, The Journeyperson Program is best suited for applicants that have the following:
Secure medium to long-term land tenure (such as owned land or a lease contract)
A focus on livestock and/or crop production for direct-to-consumer and/or wholesale markets
An established farm business that needs support to refine their vision, apply whole-farm planning practices and willingness to fully utilize the resources of the program
Not you? Don’t fret! We have programs applicable to all stages of farming education.
Complete the Growing the Next Generation of Farmers Worksheet [insert link] to determine the best place for you to plug into our training programs.
Components of the Program:
Components spread out over 12 months (November – October)
3 Workshops: November, January & February (1-2 day trainings in person and/or virtual)
Holistic Financial Planning
Advanced Enterprise Development
Other topics may be selected based on cohort interests
Benefits of the Program:
Work with an Experienced Farmer Mentor one-on-one
CRAFT Farmer Network Membership
Identify & connect with Regional resource providers (lenders, small business centers)
Professional development support - $300/farm
Option to enroll in Savings Incentive Program (up to $1000 in matching funds)
Monthly virtual cohort meetings with focus areas determined by cohort interests
The course fee is a sliding scale from $500- $1200 and applies to a farm unit (1–2 individuals who are business partners, family members, or life partners). The course costs OGS at least $1500/ farm to run. The program allows two partners who apply and are accepted together to benefit from dual enrollment.
If you are applying with a farm partner, they must also complete the entire application. Space is limited to 10 farm applicants.
A sliding scale is an option we are offering to make the course more accessible. Please do not be deterred! In addition, we offer scholarships and payment plans, and we encourage you to apply. Both farm partners must apply if they are requesting a scholarship.
If accepted, the full course fee or down payment must be paid to secure your spot in the course. Payments can be made via credit card or check. We will provide further instructions for making payment following acceptance into the program.
The program runs for one year, currently from November 2022 to October 2023. The cohort meets monthly for virtual or in person meet ups of 2 hours.
Workshops take place in November, January and February and range from 4 - 6 hours each. We will know closer to those dates if they are in person or virtual.
The mentorship with an experienced mentor is 15 hours, and starts once you are matched.
You can apply using the online application linked on this page. Please read over this information before beginning your application!
Application Check List (only complete applications will be reviewed):
JP Primary Application
2 references (2 professional)
JP Partner Application (optional)
2 references (2 professional) for partner if applying
Scholarship Application (optional)
Growing the Next Generation Worksheet (included in online application)
Be sure to review all application requirements before submitting.
Be sure all required parts are submitted at once. Only completed applications will be reviewed.
You will be notified regarding course acceptance or denial via email once we have reviewed your applications.
We may contact you by phone for any follow-up questions regarding your application.
Scholarship awards will be sent via email.
Correspondence will be sent to both applicants only.
How we choose candidates:
Applications will be reviewed by the OGS Farmer Programs team and accepted on the basis of applicant experience, farmer and farm readiness, and your stage in The Farming Journey. Each applicant may be asked to do an informal interview—either in person or by phone—to discuss the program and determine if Journeyperson is a good match for the potential participant’s needs.
Cancellation of a Journeyperson registration prior to the deadline will result in a return of half of your deposit. No refunds are available after the deadline. If you have to withdraw for any reason during the course, refunds cannot be made.
If you are unable to attend the current course, we are happy to send you documentation so that your tuition fee can be recorded as a tax-deductible contribution to the ongoing work of the Organic Growers School.
The program will be a blend of in-person and virtual connection. OGS will follow all current COVID-19 protocols at in-person events. We will be observing and adjusting as needed.
Sliding Scale and Affordability
Organic Growers School aims to create affordable, broadly accessible programs while at the same time providing fair wages to our farmer instructors and dedicated staff. Financial Aid for Journeyperson is limited, and priority is given to Black, Indigenous, and beginning farmers of color, LGBTQ+, and other socially disadvantaged individuals.
We encourage you to consider a Payment Plan is your first option for financial support. Also, see our list of Other Financial Aid Resources below. If requesting funding from OGS is necessary, we ask you to consider what would be a stretch, but not a strain, for you to invest in your education. We will consider the applicant’s level of community involvement and engagement in work related to social justice and sustainable agriculture in Southern Appalachia.
Passion and capacity for farming
Ability and willingness to give back to the program
Understanding the value of this farmer training education
Applying for a Scholarship
Submit a scholarship application simultaneously with your Journeyperson application. If you submit your application online, follow the link at the end of your application to apply for a scholarship. You will then be prompted to submit the scholarship application questions. If farm partners reside together and share finances, both parties need to submit financial information.
Payment plans are available and allow for participants to pay the fee in 4 installments. The first payment is due after your letter of acceptance is received to secure your spot in the class.
Subsequent payments are due in November, December, and January, or as otherwise agreed upon. Payments can be made by check, debit or credit card. There is a $15 fee for late or missed payments.
Please let us know if you are interested and we will make arrangements for you to pay via check or online automatic withdrawals. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Savings Incentive Program
One of the main challenges of beginning farmers is affording the infrastructure and equipment to help farming be more efficient and profitable. We want to help you capitalize your farm. Farm may be eligible to receive up to $1000 matched in the Savings Incentive Program. This savings can be put towards the purchase of a farm asset.
For example, if you save $1000 during the course, you get matching funds of $1000 from Organic Growers School, for a total of $2000 to purchase a farm asset. Participants will be selected at the beginning of class.