Massachusetts is experiencing a resurgence of interest in local food and farming, and as a result, more people are becoming farmers. For the first time in many years, the number of farmers in the state is steadily increasing. In 2007, there were 7,691 total farms, up from 6,075 in 2002. New farmers are working hard to gain the education, skills, training, and resources that they need to be successful. The commonwealth has many programs and resources that are useful to farmers, but it is sometimes hard for farmers to find what is right for them. In addition, there are a number of challenges to beginning farmers in the state, including land access, finding the right training, and access to financial resources. Here's where the Beginning Farmer Network of Massachusetts (BFN/Mass) comes in.
BFN/Mass is a collaborative group of farmers and farm service providers dedicated to beginning farmer success in Massachusetts. Since the fall of 2011, working groups have been creating a coordinated website and referral network to help beginning farmers in Massachusetts effectively find the information and services they need (check out www.bfnmass.org, set to launch in mid-November). With this foundation, the network is now ready to expand the scope of its work to support beginning farmers in new ways.
On November 15, BFN/Mass is hosting its first Fall Forum as an opportunity to network and collaborate. This kickoff event will offer a chance to meet other farmers, farm service providers, and engaged food system advocates who are concerned with beginning farmers' livelihood and success in the commonwealth. The forum will facilitate conversations about hot-button issues, help in the creation of action plans for future work, and help participants determine where to leverage resources.
The BFN/Mass Fall Forum will take place at the Charlton Public Library (40 Main St., Charlton, MA) on Tuesday, November 13, from 10:30 to 2:30. Please RSVP at www.tinyurl.com/BFNMassfallforum
. Contact Becca Weaver (firstname.lastname@example.org
, 978-654-6745) for more information.