News from the Cornell Small Farms Program, Fall 2022

Register Now for Our 2022-2023 Online Course Season, Featuring New Courses

Are you looking to improve your technical or business skills to benefit your farming operation?

The Cornell Small Farms Program is excited to announce that our upcoming online course season will begin live webinars this fall, and will feature new courses to offer even more learning opportunities. New additions to our online course suite includes “Goat Production,” which will guide beginning farmers through the production and marketing of goats for dairy, meat and fiber. Also, we’ve added “Identification and Use of Mushrooms in Farms, Gardens, and Forests” to teach you basic ID, species, life cycle, and potential applications of mushrooms to solve community level challenges.

In recent years we’ve also added: “Access to Capital” for anyone seeking funding for a farm enterprise; “Cut Flower Production” on the business of flower farming; a course on “Beef Cattle Management;” a primer on “Social Media & Online Marketing” for your farm business; and a 4-week intensive in how “Reading the Land” can help you monitor its health.

Our suite of online courses is offered on a user-friendly platform, which grants registrants permanent access to their course content. Also, courses have tiered pricing based on household size and income to make access to the courses more affordable and equitable for everyone.

Our program offers more than two dozen online courses to help farmers improve their technical and business skills. These courses cover a range of topics any farmer needs to succeed, such as beekeeping, holistic financial planning, soil health, vegetable farming, and so much more. Experienced farmers and extension educators guide students through course content, including weekly live webinars, videos, and resources.

The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our online course platform. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the interface of the course for a dedicated time slot each year to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real-time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.

You can browse all of our course offerings on our website.

Meet the New Cornell Small Farms’ Online Course Coordinator

By Kara Peet

I am very excited to join the Cornell Small Farms Program team as the new Online Course Coordinator. With prior experience in education, administration, and customer service, I support instructors and students with the resources they need to be successful with our online course offerings. 

I am responsible for all aspects of our online courses, including logistics and coordination, from establishing course schedules to conducting program evaluation. I field student inquiries and help them navigate our resources. I work to maintain positive relationships with existing course instructors and recruit new ones. In collaboration with the Small Farms team, we aim to expand our reach to welcome and grow a diverse crop of successful new farmers, particularly those from historically marginalized communities who have been traditionally excluded from farming opportunities. 

Since I am new to the world of farming and this team, I plan to listen, remain curious, and learn from the Small Farms Program community members so that their wisdom can directly inform my work. My overall goals are to foster people’s connection with land/nature through our course offerings and continue to expand our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. My hope is that people find connection, reciprocity, and/or healing through their farming pursuits after participating in our classes.

Future en Ag Project Summer Events Series

The Futuro en Ag Project team and our partners have had a very busy summer. Our teamwork with our collaborators, farmers, service providers and the community at large has kept us proudly working toward our goal of supporting Latino farmers through access to information in Spanish and appropriate educational tools to achieve their goals and minimize their risks.

Read more about the various events we held over the summer to support our Spanish-speaking farmer community at…unity-leadership/.

Reconnecting with Purpose Program Welcomes Applicants for Year 3 Cohort

As farm and food system educators or change makers, we face enormous challenges to our efforts to support improved livelihoods of those we serve.  Although we may work hard toward positive change and genuine service, our goals can become daunting. There are times we find our energy, commitment and spirit depleted.

The Cornell Small Farms Program is pleased to share that we are hosting a Year 3 Cohort for “Reconnecting with Purpose – A Renewal Experience for NY Farm and Food System Educators and Change Makers.”

This 5-month program is designed for those working across the New York farm and food system and seeks participants from all backgrounds, roles and ages. This includes those working with NYS community gardens, urban farms, youth farms, food systems organizers (e.g. food hubs, food banks), farmer-educators, Cornell Cooperative Extension, USDA, NRCS, non-profit organizations, private consultants, and community foundations.

“Reconnecting with Purpose” creates a welcoming and trustworthy space for participants to explore challenges, to ‘live their questions’, and to uncover a sense of clarity and direction in their work and lives.  Facilitators guide participants through a carefully curated journey of themes and reflections. The program, which spans from October 2022 – March 2023, consists of an in-person 2 day opening retreat, 4 monthly peer learning circles, and a virtual 2 day closing retreat.  The entire program is aligned with the Center for Courage & Renewal principles and practices and is funded by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

Learn more about “Reconnecting with Purpose.”

Kacey Deamer

Kacey is the Communications Manager for the Cornell Small Farms Program. In this role, she manages all storytelling and outreach across the program’s website, social media, e-newsletter, magazine and more. Kacey has worked in communications and journalism for more than a decade, with a primary focus on science and sustainability.