RAFFL New Farmer Coaching Day – 12/19 in Rutland

The first of 4 New Farmer Coaching Days is fast approaching!  Next Friday, December 19th RAFFL’s New Farmer Program Coordinator Jen Miller will be available for appointments and drop-in sessions from 9:00-3:00 at Speakeasy Cafe in Rutland.  Check out the FAQs below to learn more.

Who are coaching sessions for?

  • Coaching sessions are for any aspiring or beginning farmers (up to 10 years of experience)

What can I expect at a coaching session?

  • A coaching session usually lasts about 1 hour. Generally some time will be spent providing some relevant background about your farm (or the farm you are planning) and your goals.  Then you may use the session to discuss anything you would like about your farm- some aspect of the business you are looking to improve, learn more about, or just need to talk through.  At the end of the coaching session, you can expect support in the form of referrals to resources and an action plan to help you lay out your next steps and be successful in achieving your farm goals.

Who will I have a coaching session with?

  • Coaching sessions will be with Jen Miller, RAFFL’s New Farmer Program Coordinator. She started in this position in July after farming for seven years- five in Burlington’s Intervale.  Jen has experience managing diversified vegetable farms, raising small livestock and poultry, and managing the CSA program at the Intervale Food Hub.

Should I schedule an appointment or just show up?

  • Either! However, please be aware that if you just show-up you may have to wait awhile as priority will go to those with scheduled appointments.  If the dates below do not work for you, feel free to contact Jen to make an appointment for another day.

How do I make an appointment for a coaching session?

NOFA-VT’s Journey Farmer Program – Application Deadline 12/15!

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) is currently accepting applications for their 2015 Journey Farmer Program. The Journey Farmer Program is a two-year program for beginning farmers who are in the first few years of running their own farming enterprise in Vermont. The program is largely shaped by thefarming interests and goals of the Journey Farmers, and enables aspiring new farmers to advance their farming skills and experiences, along with being a part of a learning community of other aspiring farmers and farmer mentors.

NOFA-VT’s Journey Farmer program began in 2011, and to date 23 Journey Farmers have participated. Three to five new Journey Farmers will be added to the program for 2015.  The Journey Farmer program was developed to help farmers successfully bridge the gap from education and apprenticeships to viable commercial enterprises. The program provides several offerings to help reach these goals, including farmer-to-farmer mentoring, free admission into NOFA-VT’s Summer Workshop Series and Winter Conference, business planning support, access to technical assistance, and an educational stipend.

Journey Farmers also become part of a supportive network made up of other beginning farmers and farmer mentors by participating in special gatherings, educational offerings and events. “My mentorship with another farmer has helped my farmbecome more sustainable financially, and has helped guide me through my farming years,” said past participant Nate Lewis of Moonlight Farm.

Applications and resumes are due by December 15, 2014. Couples and/or business partners should submit one joint application. If you have any questions regarding the program, criteria for selection, or the application please contact Rachel Fussell, Education Coordinator, at rachel@nofavt.org.

FSMA Comment Deadline December 15

Just a reminder that the deadline to submit comments to the FDA about the proposed draft of the Food Safety Modernization Act is this coming Monday, December 15!

Here’s a link to some of Vern Grubinger’s thoughts on the draft rules:


For instructions on how to submit comments to the FDA see:



Upcoming Farm Law Webinars

Let Farm Commons help you plan for a stable, resilient farm business with our Farm Law Webinars.  This year we are hosting 13 different- and completely free- farm law webinars. First up, we have 8 webinars in our Farm Law Basics series. Later in the winter, we are offering 5 new Advanced Farm Law webinars.

Read about and register for each webinar following the link below.  Every webinar will be recorded and available for viewing after. Register even if you can’t attend- you will receive a link to the recording in your email as soon as it’s available.



Variety Selection for Storage & Winter Crops: Farmer-to-Farmer Discussion 12/14

Join RAFFL for the first farmer-to-farmer discussion of the winter!!

Sunday, December 14 from 3:00 – 5:00

Location: Lihigh School, Poultney

Facilitator: Becky Maden

Description:  With limits on both storage and hoophouse space, varietal selection decisions for storage and winter crops tend to be more critical choices than a summer lettuce variety selection (though that is definitely important!).  Becky Maden recently moved to Singing Cedars Farm after spending 10 years co-managing Intervale Community Farm in Burlington where she produced a wide variety of storage and winter crops.  Join the discussion, share your experiences with your rockstar varieties and those that you now actively avoid, and get some ideas for your upcoming seed order!

Tinmouth House w/ 3.4 Acres For Sale

Find the listing at:
Soils are classified as prime agricultural soils- type is 148B, Bomoseen and Pittstown soils.  The link to the NRCS fact sheet for these soils is:
Contact Monica with questions at: monica.erhart@gmail.com.


Workshop 12/2 – Selling to K-12 School Meal Programs

The following workshop is for farmers, producers, and vendors who sell or wish to sell directly to Vermont school meal programs.  

Selling to K-12 School Meal Programs: Understanding Your Customers’ Needs & Regulations

School meal programs represent a big marketing opportunity for Vermont producers and suppliers, purchasing more than $15 million worth of food and supplies last year.  However these programs must follow strict federal and state requirements for competitive procurement for every purchase they make.  These long-standing regulations are just now beginning to be enforced in Vermont, and many schools who were not previously complying them will begin to implement competitive procurement practices in the coming year.  This class will explain what these procurement regulations are, and what you, as a vendor, can expect from the schools you do business with.  In addition, we will spend some time discussing how the new school meal patterns and other federal regulations affect the products that schools will be looking to purchase, and what school food service managers wish you knew about doing business with their programs.  This class is for farmers, producers, distributors, and other businesses that sell (or wish to sell) directly to school meal programs.

When:                  December 2, 2014  9-11:30am

Where:                 UVM Extension Office, 23 Pond Road, Middlebury, VT

Instructors:         Abbie Nelson, NOFA Vermont & VT FEED, Rosie Krueger, VT Agency of Education, Child Nutrition Programs

RSVP:                    Email Annie Harlow at annie@acornvt.org, Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN)

Cost:                      Free, $5 suggested donation for food and beverages