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Online tool highlighting Michigan beginning farmer resources released


EAST LANSING, MI.  — The Map of Beginning Farmer Resources in Michigan is an interactive tool showing over 75 programs for beginning and aspiring farmers in Michigan. Listings feature short videos, a website link, a program description and a list of programs offered for beginning and aspiring farmers. Color-coded resource icons can help beginning farmers target the resources they need, whether they are seeking land, funding, farm skills, marketing opportunities, conferences, advocacy organizations or other resources. The map, website and video guide to the map were created with funding from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program.

It can be difficult for new farmers to find and access support and educational opportunities offered by so many different organizations. It is important that the map compiles resources offered by Michigan State University Extension, federal and state agencies, and statewide and local organizations and is updated when programs change. MSU Extension Community Food Systems educator Abbey Palmer noted that the map is “the most up-to-date resource of its kind for the state.”

Two online trainings will guide educators and beginning farmers on how to use and share this resource.

Educator Toolkit: Map of Beginning Farmer Programs demo

• Thursday, November 4, 2021

• 1–1:30 p.m. Map Demo & Educator Talking Points

• 1:30–2 p.m. Q & A and Brainstorming 

• Register at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScaFWNtYAo5mNkJb_Za6KI7WC4iGcx3zKmkkOkIu_K3aBG10Q/viewform.

Farmer Toolkit: Map of Beginning Farmer Programs demo

• Tuesday November 9, 2021

• 12–12:30 p.m. Map Demo & Farm Startup Stories

• 12:30–1 p.m. Q & A and Brainstorming

•Register at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScaFWNtYAo5mNkJb_Za6KI7WC4iGcx3zKmkkOkIu_K3aBG10Q/viewform.

Next steps for the map include collaborating with other organizations to create maps to highlight specific types of resources. For example, a Land Access Resources Navigator is being developed in partnership with MI FarmLink that will focus on land and funding opportunities and will be launched at their Cultivating Connections event on November 10, 2021. Farmers have indicated an interest in a map showing farm work opportunities, which is planned to be developed in partnership with an MSU undergraduate course in 2022.

Please take the survey at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdqahTTgdm77hYvl7kenkjjAjSs0Y9KL872oL8GBE70Zgjx7g/viewform or email brandtk7@msu.edu to suggest a program to list, to offer feedback or to collaborate.