Welcome to Groundswell


Groundswell’s mission
is to help youth and adult learners develop the skills and knowledge they need to build sustainable local food systems. Our focus is providing hands-on, experiential learning opportunities with real working farms and food businesses in the Ithaca area. Through collaboration with area schools, colleges and universities, Groundswell offers programs of study for beginning farmers, students, community members, and professionals.

Groundswell is an initiative of the EcoVillage Center for Sustainability Education in Ithaca, NY, which is a project of the Center for Transformative Action. Visit the Groundswell website to learn more about our programs, initiatives and resources.

Thursday, November 13

Helping farm businesses thrive!


Groundswell Center, CCE-Tompkins, and Alternatives Federal Credit Union team up to offer Farm Business Planning Course for beginning and established farmers



Ithaca, NY.  In collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and Alternatives Federal Credit Union’s Business CENTS Program, the Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming will once again offer an intensive Farm Business Planning Course in the winter of 2015. 

This course is for the serious beginning farmer who needs a plan. It is also appropriate for established farmers who want to improve their business planning and management skills. Ten weekly sessions cover all major aspects of the farm business planning process, including assessing your resources; legal and regulatory issues; production planning; marketing; financial feasibility, budgets and record keeping; and more. 

Farm Business Planning is designed for those who:
  • Have at least one year of hands-on farming experience
  • Have a clear business concept and expect to get started within one year, or are in already in business;
  • Can fully commit to an intensive ten-week course with substantial outside research and homework.

The class will run for ten weeks, meeting every Thursday evening from 6-9 pm from January 15th through March 19th. Instructors are Monika Roth, Agriculture Program Leader and Matt LeRoux, Agriculture Marketing Specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, and Leslie Ackerman, Director of the Business CENTS Program of Alternatives Federal Credit Union, along with area farmers and business owners whose stories illustrate the benefits of business planning and financial management skills. Tuition for the course is $480.  Tuition assistance is available for those with limited financial resources.

Apply Online Now!


"This is a rigorous course for the serious farming entrepreneur,” says Joanna Green, Director of the Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming. Recent graduates of the course have gone on to establish innovative businesses like Main Street Farms, Redbyrd Cider Orchard, Crooked Carrot CSK Farm, Second Wind Farm, and Hammerstone Orchard. And graduates of the course have been very successful in obtaining loans to start these businesses.

Groundswell is committed to supporting a new generation of farmers that reflects the diversity of culture, color, and class in our community. It is NOT a requirement that you own land or have the financial resources to own land. This course will examine opportunities to lease land for farming in the Tompkins County area, and to secure financing through ag and commercial lenders.
 
Groundswell Farm Business Planning Course
2015 Class Schedule and Topics

Week #
Date
Topics
1
Jan 15
6-9 pm
Orientation, Setting Your Goals
2
Jan 22
6-9 pm
Planning for Your Farm Enterprise
3
Jan 29
6-9 pm
Reality Check with Farmers
4
Feb 5
6-9 pm
Marketing Basics & Strategy Development
5
Feb 12
6-9 pm
Accounting Basics & Financial Feasibility
6
Feb 19
6-9 pm
Financial Statements & Sources of Funds
7
Feb 26
6-9 pm
Creating a Marketing Plan
8
Feb 5
6-9 pm
Farm Business Legalities and Logistics
9
Mar 12
6-9 pm
Final Projects
10
Mar 19
6-9 pm
Final Projects




















 

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