Growing Growers 2019 Apprenticeships and Workshops
by Zac Hoppenstedt, horticulture agent
Since 2004 the Growing Growers farmer training program has worked to develop grower networks, peer-to-peer learning and grower collaboration in order to support new and first-generation fruit and vegetable growers in the region.
The Growing Growers organizing committee is comprised of faculty and staff from area land-grant universities and their local branches of cooperative extension service including Johnson County K-Sate Research and Extension, along with local farmers and non-profits. In response to the high demand for local food and declining farmer population, Growing Growers aims to support a renewed commitment to diversified farming in northeast Kansas.
About the apprenticeship program
Growing Growers is currently accepting applications for the 2019 apprenticeship program. Qualified applicants are matched with a local host farm where they apprentice under a farmer mentor during the growing season. The apprenticeship program includes both hands-on and classroom education. Participants attend monthly workshops taught by agriculture specialists and commercial producers, in addition to receiving direct one-on-one training from their host farmer. It’s a great experience for aspiring growers of all ages, including high school and college students looking for seasonal work. Likewise, the program aims to be a resource for established farms as a means of professional development for their employees.
Annual workshop series
The Growing Growers program includes an annual workshop series and email listerv focused on education for fruit and vegetable growers, particularly those who are interested in growing for market. All workshops and partner events are open to the public at low cost, and are free of charge for active program apprentices.
Workshop dates, topics and general locations include:
- March 11: Plant Propagation, Olathe
- March 16: Production Planning, Olathe
- April 6: Building Healthy Soils, Kansas City
- April 17: KC Healthy Kids’ “Farm to School Summit”, Kansas City
- April 29: Postharvest Handling & Food Safety, Lawrence
- May 20: Small Farm Equipment & Irrigation, Kansas City
- June 8: Insects, Disease & Weed Management, Lawrence
- July 13: Farm Business Planning, Kansas City
- July 29: Pollinator Steward, Kansas City
- Aug. 12: K-State Field Day and Graduation Dinner, Olathe
- Sept. 14: Carbon Farming, Kansas City
- Oct. 5 – 6: Douglas Co. “Kaw Valley Farm Tour”, Lawrence
- Oct. 19 – Value-added Production, Kansas City
- Nov. 8 – 9: Kansas Rural Center Farm and Food Conference, Wichita
Or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org