On Seeding New Farms

SCLT works to support growers of all kind, including those who are growing for market. Through several programs SCLT has helped seed new farmers. One such program–the City Farm Apprenticeship Program–provides people with opportunity to explore urban agriculture and acquire the skills necessary to practice sustainable urban agriculture as a profession. After working at City Farm for a full season, many apprentices have gone and started their own farms, including Kathleen Reed–a recent Providence College alum who will be starting her own one-acre vegetable farm in the Hudson Valley in the next growing season.kathleenblogpic

Kathleen did not grow up thinking that she would one day become a farmer. In fact, Kathleen’s interest in agriculture began as a sophomore at Providence College when she worked with SCLT for two semesters as a requirement for her major. While she did not know much about growing food when she first started, she grew a love for agriculture very quickly and continued to volunteer with City Farm until her latest role as City Farm Apprentice for the 2012 growing season. According to Kathleen, without her apprenticeship with City Farm, she would not be gearing up to move to the Hudson Valley and start her own farm.

“City Farm provided the knowledge and education it took to be able to see myself growing as a profession. I have been given the skills necessary to form a strong foundation to build upon in the years to come.”

You can learn more about Kathleen’s story on our new “Meet Your Community Growers” feature of our website.

Another program through which SCLT provides support to new farmers is the Urban Edge Farm program. The program is a farming collaborative between seven farmers, including Christina Dedora of Blue Skys Farm.
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Small scale farming in the Northeast is a difficult business, but through the Urban Edge Farm Program, Christina has been able to gain access to two acres of land, an irrigation system, deer fencing, tractors and tractor implements and heated greenhouses–all of which have helped her transform Blue Skys Farm from a part-time business to a full-time, year-round farming business. Additionally, being part of a farming collaborative has allowed Christina and the six other farmers to share ideas and learn from one another.

Christina sells her flowers, herbs and vegetables at several farmers markets and through the Farm Fresh RI Market Mobile. She is also a partner in a collaborative CSA and sells cut flowers for weddings and to local florists. Catch up with Christina and other Urban Edge Farmers on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Wintertime Farmers Market!

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