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Program trains new generation of farmers

Posted at 3:26 PM, Mar 21, 2019

On his urban farm, Sean Conway is doing more than cultivating his next crop. He's helping grow the next generation of farmers.

Conway is a mentor at the GoFarm incubator program, which pairs young farmers with established ones.

“I wish that there was like an incubator program available to me in the Denver area at the time, because it would have helped me out a lot,” Conway says.

After seven years of farming, Conway says he struggled at first.

“I didn't really have enough experience to start farming on my own, so I made a lot of mistakes,” he admits.

Now, the GoFarm incubator program is making sure these apprentices don't make the same mistakes Conway did. The program is a mix of hands-on training and classroom work, creating a path to farm ownership.

“Two percent of the U.S. population is actually in an agricultural career, which is pretty crazy, so trying to increase the amount of farmers we have will affect the entire community,” says Natalie Fioretti with GoFarm.

Apprentice Shelby Johnson knew she wanted to be a farmer, but had no idea where to begin.

“The odds are really, really stacked against young farmers in a lot of ways, and especially as a young, queer woman of color from the south, it's like quadra stacked against me,” Johnson says.

Johnson says thanks to GoFarm, she has resources and opportunities to network, while learning from older farmers.

There are farming training programs like GoFarm across the country. GoFarm’s program lasts two years, with the hope of its benefits lasting much longer.

For more information on the GoFarm program and its mission, click here .