Beginning Farmer Training Program at LCC

GoFarm LCC
GoFarm Hawai`i @ Leeward takes place at Leeward Community College. You do not have to enroll in college to participate. Contact Pam Caesar, coordinator. Phone: 808-557-4769. Email: leeward@gofarmhawaii.org. Homepage and FAQ.

Do you think you might have it within you to do the hard work and learn the various aspects of farming? To meet the inevitable challenges with creativity and determination? Commit to Hawaii’s premier beginning farmer training program with the goal of becoming a successful Farmer? If so, then GoFarm Hawai`i is ready to help you!

Farming can be a very rewarding pursuit: It can sustain your family and your community, give you independence, stimulate your mind, and feed your body and spirit. It can, however, be very challenging: Disease, weather, and pests can disrupt well-laid plans; there is so much a farmer needs to know about soil health, different crops, nutrition, pest and disease control, marketing, and finances (to name a few) in order to be successful.

GoFarm Hawai`i’s mission is to enhance Hawaii’s food security and economy by increasing the number of local agricultural producers by offering those with an interest in agriculture a combination of knowledge, experience, and support designed to assist them in becoming viable production growers, and accomplish this in a manner that encourages sustainability.

Emphasis is on the practical skills and knowledge necessary to become a successful agricultural entrepreneur, thus the curriculum will cover the fundamentals of farm production and business management, and expose participants to the realities of farming through the experience of seasoned farmers. Services such as shared equipment, land, marketing, and business consulting (including pursuit of financing and land matchmaking) will be provided to facilitate participants’ entry into commercial farming.

The programs below are run approximately two times a year and are designed to be taken sequentially.

AgCurious
3 hour seminar

  • Attract those with interest in getting involved in agricultural production.
  • Provide them with an overview of the industry in Hawai’i and its importance.
  • Convey a sense of what is involved in farming, both as a farmer and farm worker, including: challenges and opportunities, costs and benefits, and lifestyle.
  • Inform participants about various avenues to get started, but especially recruit those who want to know more about what it is like to be a farmer to the next phase (AgXposure).


AgXposure
Approximately 3 weekend days

  • Provide participants with experiences that convey the lifestyle and knowledge areas important to farming to expose them to what life would be like if they were to be a farmer.
  • Recruit those who want to learn how to be a successful farmer and can make the necessary commitments to the next phase (AgSchool).

AgSchool
1 weeknight & 1 weekend day for 4 months (additional time often necessary to maintain crops, Maui schedule differs)

  • Topics delivered by experts and specialists include: Soil nutrients and plant health management, Propagation, Variety selection, Farm equipment, Irrigation, Pest control (pathogens, insects, nematodes, and weeds), Post harvest storage and handling, food safety.
  • Participants acquire a fundamental understanding of the principals underlying a broad spectrum of production topics.
  • Participants practice on-farm the techniques related to critical production skills.
  • Participants learn of the resources available to assist them and/or further their knowledge of farming.

AgPro
1 weeknight & 1 weekend day for 6 months (additional time often necessary to maintain crops). Open to select graduates of AgSchool. Currently only offered at Waimanalo, O’ahu.

  • Deeper learning on the production topics of AgSchool with emphasis on commercial production, and coverage of business topics for the entrepreneurial farmer including Cost of Production, Crop and Business Planning, and Marketing.
  • Participants practice on-farm techniques on larger plots and market their crops.
  • Participants practice techniques related to business management topics.
  • Participants develop a business plan.
  • Participants learn of the resources available to assist them and/or further their knowledge of farming and business management.

AgIncubator
Optional. Up to 2 years. Open to select graduates of AgPro. Currently only offered at Waimanalo, O’ahu.

  • Participants practice farming their chosen crop on land provided by the program for up to two years.
  • Continued access to program peers and experts.
  • Shared equipment and infrastructure.

AgBusiness
Anytime after AgSchool

  • Transition assistance to launch participants into viable agribusinesses.
  • Assistance applying for land and financing.
  • Business startup and planning consulting.

__________
See related story: “LCC, WCC seeking people curious about farming for non-credit program” (Star-Advertiser, 7 Nov. 2015).

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