Growing Growers ICT
Why serve as a host farm?
You'll have the opportunity to give back to the farming community in a way that you appreciated, or maybe you wish you had during your own early years.
The ICT food shed has great fruit and vegetable farmers, but there is room for more! Aspiring growers need to be trained and invested in to help them be successful.
Local food is a growing movement in Wichita and surrounding areas – we need more local producers to keep pushing this movement forward.
Your investment of time into the program helps give us traction to keep providing all sorts of grower education programs through Extension.
You’ll have free access to quality workshops where you’ll receive valuable growing knowledge and helpful books and other resources.
What we ask of you:
Work with 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, and they may work anywhere from 4 hours a week to full time, depending on both of your capacity and availability. Apprentices’ work responsibilities can vary, too, whether you’d like help mostly at Saturday markets, thinning fruit trees, planting in the spring, or a little bit of everything.
Many of these details will be vetted during the matching process. Apprentices will research available host farms and may reach out to you prior to the February speed dating-type mixer, when the matching process will officially begin. Click here to learn more about the matching process.
Mentor an apprentice
What sets an apprentice apart from a regular farm hand is the mentorship component of the program. The program will compensate you $200 for providing eight hours of one-on-one mentoring for you apprentice, where you’ll be able to cover more of the 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.
Make space for apprentice training opportunities
The final thing we ask of you is to arrange your apprentice’s farm schedule so that they can attend the other requirements of the program – the workshops and their volunteer time with the Common Ground Mobile Market.
The workshops occur on a mostly monthly basis, either on Saturdays or Monday afternoons. 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 workshops. As a host farmer, you are also invited to attend the workshops at no cost, but we don’t require this of you.
Common Ground Mobile Market is meeting the needs of greater Wichita residents who have little access to fresh, healthy, and especially local produce. They travel to various locations around the region and set up “lightning” markets, and we ask apprentices to join the Mobile Market for approximately three shifts over the course of the growing season so they can gain a greater understanding of what it takes to serve low-income, low-access populations. Shifts are usually less than one hour, often during mid-day and early afternoon, and take place at a variety of locations around the region. Check out the Mobile Market’s Facebook page for a calendar of previous markets. (These won’t necessarily be exactly the same, but you’d get a good idea of what they’re like.)
Contact Lyndsay Feather, program manager:
(316) 660-0145 | firstname.lastname@example.org