Growing Growers ICT
Why serve as a host farm?
Local food is a growing movement in Wichita and surrounding areas – we need more local producers to keep pushing this movement forward.
You can give back to the farming community in a way that you appreciated, or maybe you wish you had during your own early years.
South-central Kansas has many great fruit and vegetable farmers, but there is room for more! Aspiring growers need training and support to be successful.
Your involvement in the program helps K-State Research and Extension continue providing relevant grower education.
You have access to free, quality workshops where you receive valuable knowledge and helpful books and resources.
What we ask of you:
Host an apprentice
One of the main ways that aspiring growers learn the ropes is simply getting down in the dirt and doing the work. Bringing an apprentice onto your farm may fit within a wide range of commitment and opportunity:
- Your apprentice may be volunteer or paid, depending on your financial situation
- They may work anywhere from 4 hours a week to full time, depending on both of your capacity and availability
- Their work responsibilities can vary, but we ask that you train your apprentice in a variety of farm tasks so they get a well-rounded picture of daily life as a specialty crop grower.
What sets an apprentice apart from a regular farm hand is the mentorship. The program will compensate you $200 for providing eight hours of one-on-one mentoring for you apprentice, where you’ll cover big picture, background concepts that go into running a farm. From seed ordering to crop planning to recordkeeping to business management considerations – this is where your apprentice will have the chance to learn about the less obvious parts of running a farm.
The final thing we ask of you is to arrange your apprentice’s farm schedule so that they can attend the core workshops and any other learning opportunities they want to attend.
Core workshops occur approximately every three weeks on Monday afternoons and/or Saturday mornings. These sessions will cover a host of technical considerations – from soil management to seedling production to pest management to business planning. Click here for a full list of events. As a host farmer, you are also invited to attend the workshops at no cost, but we don’t require this of you.
Host a tour or demonstration
To build a mutually beneficial learning network, we need growers to host farm tours, demonstrations, hands-on activities, and networking events. The range of possibilities for this opportunity to participate is wide – if you have and idea for an event topic, let us know!
We are especially looking for farm tours to follow the lecture portion each core workshops.
Provide community education
In 2021, we started partnering with growers to go into classrooms and community groups to teach children and adults about what specialty crops grow in Kansas, and where they can purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables.
While community education in 2022 and beyond will look a little different than it did at first, we hope to have some similar opportunities moving forward. If you enjoy teaching your customers about your growing methods or your favorite ways to cook your produce, this opportunity is for you! You’ll be compensated for your participation.
Contact us for more information.
Contact Kinzie Kirkland, program manager:
(316) 660-0145 | firstname.lastname@example.org