Cornell CALS - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Trainer’s Toolbox

Project Lead: Erica Frenay

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Trainer's Toolbox is a past project, but this page has resources and information that is still relevant for people who serve beginning farmers.

It includes information about land access, farm incubators, and details from the Beginning Farmer Learning Network (BFLN) gatherings in previous years.

Read more about the project history below.

About Trainer’s Toolbox

Honey bees pollinate flowering plants at Cornell Orchards.
Jason Koski / Cornell University

From 2008 - 2018, the Beginning Farmer Learning Network was a Northeast-region-wide network helping organizations that serve beginning farmers to learn from each other.

With funding support from NE SARE and the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, we organized annual 1-3-day conferences drawing on the expertise of the professionals within our network--and sometimes bringing in experts from other parts of the country--on topics from land access to incubator farms, from business management skills to social justice.

The goal was to foster a collaborative rather than competitive relationship among the organizations involved, and to help these organizations take their programming to a new level by learning lessons from those who preceded them.

About Erica Frenay

Erica has had several different roles with the Small Farms Program since she began working there in 2005. In 2006 she co-founded the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project, and launched the first online course in 2007. For 10 years she facilitated and organized the Beginning Farmer Learning Network, a professional development network for service providers in the Northeast who support beginning farmers. She has shepherded the development, publishing, and updating of several key SFP publications, like the Guide to Farming in NYS, the On-Farm Poultry Processing Guide, and the Guide to Direct Marketing Livestock and Poultry. As the SFP’s menu of online courses surpassed 20, she shifted her role primarily to managing these courses, providing ongoing training to instructors, and ensuring a high quality experience for students.

More about Erica Frenay