The Cornell Small Farms Program is housed at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell University. By working collaboratively with a network of CALS faculty and staff, Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, and other small farm advocates throughout New York, we have generated innovative research and extension initiatives that enhance small farm viability.
Our current projects engage farmers at the front-end of challenges, and introduce new and emerging opportunities.
Whether you are a beginning farmer just starting your business, or an experienced farmer looking to expand, one of our projects may be suited to your needs. Also, consider taking an online course.
There are also some emerging projects that our program is developing with our partners. Upcoming projects include: controlled environment agriculture, digital agriculture, and social sustainability for farmers. If you are interested in these emerging projects, contact us to learn more.
The following list includes all of our active projects, as well as past projects. For a tailored list of projects based on your needs, click the relevant button below.
This project addresses a range of practices that integrate trees, forests, and agricultural production. Crops include mushrooms, ramps, nut trees, and more. We've created tools and resources to help woodlot owners farm their forests.
Be Well Farming
This project creates spaces for farmers to connect meaningfully and explore holistic strategies for health and renewal.
Futuro en Ag
This project offers educational resources and materials designed in partnership with Spanish-speaking and bilingual farm business entrepreneurs.
Reconnecting with Purpose
This project aims to create space for farm and food system educators to explore challenges, to re-engage with personal strengths and capacities to address them, and to renew a sense of inspiration and purpose in their work and lives.
Reduced tillage practices are important for building soil health. Successful strategies can take many forms. This project works to help growers at diverse scales reduce tillage while managing vegetable production systems that build better soils.
Demand for specialty mushrooms is rapidly rising, as consumers look to purchase foods that are healthy, nutritious, and medicinal. This project offers training both in person and online, cultivation and marketing factsheets, videos, and guidebooks.
Small Farm Summits
The Small Farm Summits are opportunities for farmers, educators and small farm advocates to gather across NY and prioritize emerging issues and opportunities that will strengthen the small farm sector.
In the last couple years, we've hosted various projects that produced useful resources. Although the projects below aren't currently being offered, we wanted to make sure they remained accessible
Baskets to Pallets
Preparing Farmers for Wholesale Project
This project provided educational resources and trainings to prepare farmers to enter new scale-appropriate wholesale markets such as food hubs, groceries, schools and cooperatives.
Advanced Beginning Farmer Profit Team Project
This project provided 40 advanced beginning farmers with intensive support from a “New Farmer Profit Team” of advisers.
Resources for Service Providers
Since 2009 the Beginning Farmer Learning Network met once a year to share ideas and improve the support we collectively provide to beginning farmers. The Trainers Toolbox is the repository of presentations, documents, and webinars shared by members of this network.
Sustainable Farm Energy
Education on energy efficiency and renewable energy is an important part of farm sustainability, as often simple and inexpensive measures can save farmers money while reducing the environmental footprint of the farm. NE SARE offered sustainable farm energy programs from 2014 to 2017.
Small Farm Grants Program
In 2012, the Cornell Small Farms Program awarded $3,000 to $5,000 grants to organizations in NY that presented compelling projects serving and supporting small farms. Four proposals were selected. An additional project to support a small dairy field day series in the summer of 2012 was also funded.
Telling Better Stories
In 2013, the Cornell Small Farms Program hosted a training for farmers and ag educators seeking to become better story tellers, providing professional journalism instruction on how to develop engaging narratives. Access resources from the workshop and visit the Story Share page for articles and photos submitted by attendees.