In late October a graduation ceremony was held for the 2023 cohort of Farmer Training Program students. The students, ranging in age from 19 to 54, arrived in May from all over the country, including Vermont, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Texas.
This past summer’s excessive rain and flooding added a challenging and relevant element to farming in a changing climate. This group persisted with grace, grit, and patience.
One of the students captured this experience perfectly in his two minute introduction at the annual CALS retreat. “When I first arrived at the Farmer Training Program, my mind was still tuned to the world of tech and venture capital. I was looking for the ROI in rows of onions and the dividends in daily goat chores. But as I spent time with the people here, especially the other students, each bringing their own unique experiences and perspectives, I began to see the true value of farming. It’s not just about the economics; it’s about the community, the connections, and the shared pursuit of something meaningful. It’s about the wisdom and resilience of the farmers, the mentors, and the friends I’ve made, and the bonds that grow stronger with every season.”
Hats off to this stellar group of fledgling farmers and food system changemakers to-be!