Connecticut Farmer-to-Farmer Soil Health Cohort Program
Soil health is key to long-term farm viability and climate resilience. Implemented correctly, soil health management practices can help to reduce inputs and irrigation needs while improving marketable yields.
The New England Climate and Agriculture team at American Farmland Trust is offering a 1-year peer-to-peer soil health planning program for small scale Connecticut farmers. Participants will:
- Receive $2000 in financial assistance
- Complete a soil health plan for their own farm
- Build community with other farmers
- Receive input from peers on their soil health plans
- Learn from regional experts about diagnosing soil health constraints, the science, and practice of building soil health, and planning approaches for soil health and climate adaptation
- Receive an on-farm visit from a soil health specialist
- Learn with a specialist how to collect soil health samples and complete a field soil health assessment
- Be guided through a process of thinking holistically about your farm’s mission and priorities
This course runs from September 2023-September 2024, with most program activities concentrated into the winter months. Participants should expect to spend 5-10 hours per month on project activities in the winter and no more than 5 hours per month during the growing season. Most classes will take place virtually on Zoom; however, there will be some opportunities to gather in person via a field trip to a Connecticut farm and each participant will receive a farm visit from a soil health specialist to conduct soil sampling and assessment.
Space in this program is limited. Applicants will be selected based on interest, farm operation criteria, and best fit for the cohort. This program is not limited to but will prioritize small-scale producers, urban farmers, and farmers who have been historically underserved by USDA programs. Applicants should be actively producing crops either for sale or donation. Individuals producing entirely for their own household consumption are not eligible.