The desire to farm is powerful—sparked by love of food, the land, just living, community, entrepreneurship and more. But it is a complicated undertaking, and the list of questions is long.
If you are dreaming of farming and puzzled about how to get started, our Farm Dreams Workshop is for you!
Farm Dreams is online, and enrollment is free. We will hold Farm Dreams again in Fall 2021.
You’ll start by watching our Farm Dreams video, complete the Farming Readiness Assessment, and put your farm dream on paper. Join other farm dreamers online for Farm Dreams Part A. Together we’ll discuss goal setting, and you’ll meet a farmer who is living her farm dream. We’ll reconvene a week later for Part B. You’ll meet more ND farmers who will discuss the successes and challenges of living their farm dreams. We’ll also connect you with resources so you can get started.
Farm Dreams is a steppingstone to enrollment in our full Farm Beginnings farm business planning course which will runs during the winter.
These Farmers are Living Their Farm Dreams
Farm Dreams Homework
If you prefer to do the assignments on paper, click here to print them.
Exercise 1: Document Your Farm Dream
Before attending a Farm Dreams Workshop, dedicate time to imagine and document your farm dream as if it’s 5 to 10 years from now.
An ideal form of documentation is something you can keep for a long time: a napkin sketch, handwritten lists assembled on a page, a vision board with magazine cut-outs pasted to tag board, a drawing or painting, a form of narration. The form doesn’t matter, so long it’s something you can keep and look back on in 2- or 10-years’ time.
After using the following prompts to think about and document your farm dream, draft a short, 3-5 sentences, which you can share during the Farm Dreams workshop.
Imagine the physical place that occupies your farm dream.
Consider: Where is your farm? How much land does your farm need? What kinds of spaces? Are there buildings or other facilities? Like a barn, greenhouse, or fencing? What storage do you have for tools, equipment, and supplies? Do you have special equipment? Are you using draft animals? Where does your water come from? Do you source fertility/compost?
Visualize all that your dream farm produces.
Consider: What do you produce—vegetables, fruits, livestock, fiber, flowers? Do you start your own seeds or purchase seedlings? Do you have a processing facility with cold storage or a certified commercial kitchen for producing prepared milk, cheese, honey, meats, herbs, or other value-added products?
Think about your farm dream customers.
Consider: Who are your customers and what are they like? Where does your produce go? Is it sold to market and what kind of market—a farmer’s market, grocery store, wholesale, restaurants, direct to consumer? Do you give some of your produce away? To whom and how? How close is your farm to other people, community and/or market? How do transport things from the farm to the market?
Vision your farm dream lifestyle.
Consider: How does it feel to be on your farm at different times of day and in different seasons? What does a day look like in your farm dream? Who is involved in your farm dream? What kinds of challenges are you excited to face?
Exercise 2: Farming Readiness Assessment