How many people will be in the program in 2015?
For 2015, the program is limited to 25 students.
What is the difference between this program and apprenticing on a farm?
This program offers a more formal, intensive approach to a farming education, with a weekly classroom day taught by a wide range of experts, including farmers, University professors, extension agents, and other professionals working in the local food system. In addition to the classroom curriculum, participants gain in-depth experience through managing the 10-acre Catamount Education Farm with staff instruction, working alongside seasoned farmers with diverse business models, and visiting other local farms. Students also design and complete an independent project that allows them to further explore their specific interests. Unlike being an apprentice on one farm, where your main responsibility is to be a worker on the farm, the UVM Farmer Training Program offers time and resources for learning that a traditional farm apprenticeship cannot provide.
What are the housing options?
Students are responsible for finding their own housing in the Burlington area. They can choose to live in the thriving downtown area or in one of the nearby communities, opting to rent an apartment or a room, or share a house, depending on their preference. Students should expect to pay between $400 and $800 per month for housing. We also support accepted students by connecting them with others in the program who are looking for group housing.
Are there scholarships or grants available?
Scholarships are not available from UVM Continuing and Distance Education, but there are regional and national opportunities worth researching and applying for. A few great examples: Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund and VSAC Grants for non-degree courses (VT residents only). AmeriCorps educational stipends and the VA GI Bill can also be used to cover tuition.
Is finacial aid available for this program?
The Farmer Training Program is a non-credit program, and therefore it is not eligible for financial aid, work study, or University loan programs.
Is this program right for someone with little experience in farming?
This program is geared for beginning farmers who have shown enthusiasm and commitment to sustainable agriculture. If you have not yet worked a full season on a farm, you can demonstrate that commitment through volunteering on a farm, attending conferences, WWOOFing, having a community garden plot, taking relevant courses, etc.
What is the tuition for the Farmer Training Program?
For 2015, the program tuition is $6,300, which does not include housing or meals.
Beside tution, what are other costs involved with attending this program?
Here are some estimates of additional costs students should plan for:
- Housing: $400 to $800 per month
- Meals: $100 to $400 per month
- Tools/Materials: $100 total (approximate)
What do participants do with this certificate?
Many participants use their experience in the program to start their own farm and food businesses or work for another farm. Graduates become educators or work for non-profits and other organizations, helping to reform our food system and increase access to local foods. This practical training program helps prepare students to be effective workers in the local, sustainable food movement as it continues to grow and create new job opportunities for qualified people. See our alumni page for profiles of our alumni and how they have incorporated their experience into a career.