Growing Growers ICT
About the program
Fruit and vegetable production education for all types of growers
How to get involved
- Fill out an initial contact form (click here)
(This gives us some demographic information and background about your project idea or goals. Then you’ll receive an email about the next step.)
- Complete the introductory module
(This has 3 parts, each containing a Google Form with a short video and some questions to help us understand your idea, and an accompanying worksheet with additional questions to further develop your idea.)
(Parts 2 and 3 of the Intro Module will be sent to you once we have received your Interest Form and/or your Intro Module Part 1.)
3. Schedule a time to meet one-on-one
(We’ll discuss which of the program’s opportunities will best meet your needs and help you reach your goals. You must complete at least Part 1 of the Intro Module before your consultation.)
Not sure if Growing Growers is right for you? Just fill out the super quick interest form! We’ll help you determine if our program is right for you, and if so, how best for you to get involved.
If you already know you are interested in an apprenticeship position, you can browse our list of host farms to get a glimpse of who might be the best fit for you. Apprenticeships are the biggest way to participate in Growing Growers – you’ll be paired with a host farmer to gain hands-on work experience and mentorship in addition to attending our workshops and learning activities. Learn more about apprenticeships here.
Pathways to Participate
The main components of the program will be Apprenticeships, the Online Course, and our Farm Tours. Whether you only want to attend a few farms tours, or go all in with an apprenticeship, we can customize the right learning experience for you!
Apprenticeships with Growing Growers ICT are for anyone in south-central Kansas wanting a deeper knowledge of how to grow fruits and vegetables as a profitable business or effective garden project. Apprenticeship fees cover access to the online course, registration fees for farm tours, books and resources, and more. In addition to hands-on experience, you’ll also get one-on-one time with your mentor to learn what happens behind-the-scenes. Get matched with a local host farm where your apprenticeship can be paid or volunteer and range from full-time to just a few hours a week. The apprenticeship will be customized just for YOU. Find out more here, or fill out our Apprentice Application if you’re ready to jump in.
This year, the main workshop series will be offered as a full Online Course by Growing Growers Kansas City and will be offered through K-State’s Global Campus. This course builds a broad understanding of everything it takes to run a profitable farm business or effective garden project. Course modules cover all that you need to know from production planning all the way to harvest and beyond. The 32-lecture course will be held over 16 weeks. In addition to the lecture, the course will include additional resources such as videos, guest speakers, publications, and more. Course fee may be discounted with scholarships from Growing Growers ICT. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested!
We will also be hosting a series of Farm Tours that correspond with some of the core modules in the Online Course. Come visit a local specialty crop producer to learn practical applications of fruit and vegetable production concepts like crop planning or irrigation. It’s also a great opportunity for networking with other growers and peers. Farm tour information and registration can be found on our Events page.
Who can participate
The Growing Growers Learning Network is open to participants from all backgrounds, skills, ages, and income levels.
Our workshops and other learning opportunities are open to everyone interested in learning more about specialty crop farm operations, whether starting a farm is a pipe dream or you’re a seasoned farming veteran and want a refresher.
Home gardening is wonderful, but Growing Growers aims to help those who want to start farm businesses or community-oriented garden projects. There are other resources for those interested in backyard gardening – learn about those here.
The Growing Growers Learning Network is a program for aspiring fruit and vegetable producers who desire a personalized coaching experience to learn foundational concepts and connect to the local grower community, helping them develop profitable farms and effective garden projects.
Whether you want to start a farm business to sell produce at farmers markets, or you want to develop a garden for your organization or community, through Growing Growers you will increase your knowledge on critical farming basics, build your skills through hands-on learning experiences, and connect with other growers – both established and aspiring. Growing Growers focuses on the production of what the USDA defines as specialty crops – fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, honey, and more – as opposed to commodity crops and livestock. To learn more about specialty crops, click here.
On valuing diversity and hospitality:
One important value of the Growing Growers program is to create a space that is hospitable to all kinds of specialty crop growers, both existing and aspiring. Here in the greater Wichita area, we face unique challenges in building educational grower programs, and as such, we want to maintain and uplift the important differences that create the diverse range of growers in our region, while also providing quality educational opportunities for all such farmers. As a participant in the program, you are invited into a civil discourse around these differences with others; showing respect and conversing with charity help us facilitate this hospitable environment. Without as many voices at the table as possible, we risk the possibility of becoming a homogenized echo chamber, unable to see beyond ourselves and move our organization forward. Your presence, your experience, and your uniqueness matter a great deal to us.
Scope, funding, and administration
The Growing Growers ICT Learning Network serves all of south-central Kansas, not just Sedgwick County, although it is operated out of the K-State Research and Education office in Sedgwick County. The program is funded through a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, which is administered by the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
Our program is modeled after the successful Growing Growers Kansas City, but is independently funded and managed.
Contact Kinzie Kirkland, program manager:
(316) 660-0145 | email@example.com