Australian Fair Food Forum

The Farmers Path - Internships & education

This is a place to discuss the creation of a new type of training pathway for young farmers interested in regenerative agriculture.

This discussion stems from the Deep Winter Agrarian gathering in Bangalow, July 2017.

More details to come.

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Hi Lachy, great to see this kicked about, your ideas resonate well.

I’ll dig up some old drafts we had developed on a New Farmers Pathway in the last decade. the financial model we dreamt up may be of interest.

Cheers

Rob

Wonderful!

I’d love to chat more and learn about the thinking done to date in this area. I’ve got a few ideas around what I think is a really robust revenue model, so would be great to compare.

I reckon by net week I should have a bit of a dot-point summary of my initial thoughts to share. Then we can throw it out to the farming community and see where people can add suggestions, ideas
and commitments.

Rob would it be possible for you to email the previous thinking to lachy@smallgiants.com.au? Or shall we phone chat?

Hey Lachy,
A couple of years ago I did an internship on a farm in Ontario, Canada that was part of a wider network of farms called the CRAFT Network http://www.craftfarmer.org. You’ve probably already heard of them. They are super awesome and seem to have a really good model.
Cheers,
Rach

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When I get home I’ll forward a pathway I dreamt up but it’s particular to our area. I think Emmy King might have chatted with you about it at DW Lachy. Anyways after a quick chat up there I think as usual I may have made it too complex. And it really hinges on a couple of critical factors that are beyond my control at present and I’m hesitant to attempt to wrangle them into shape just because of the time available to me. I’m sure though we can incorporate a range of ideas to get a really solid program. I’m excited. Happy to chat with anyone anytime. 0410 558 138

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Hey Guys,

Thanks Lachy for getting the ball rolling. W’ll be developing our internship here at PEACE Farm further this year , looking forward to hearing how we may able to collaborate. Lachy did you want to send us through something outlining how you see a collaboration with other farms/intern providers?

cheers,
Trav

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I’m following this with interest, we may be offering internships this year and are curious as to what others are doing in this space, particularly with regard to the balance between putting our time and energy into creating and delivering a training model that creates a true learning experience against the value the intern puts into our business. In short, how do people resolve the issue of whether farmers should be charging or paying interns??
Cheers,
Katie

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Hey everyone, fantastic to see the discussion growing.

I’ve taken some time this weekend to try to consolidate my thoughts into a quick presentation.

In short I think there are a few overlapping challenges here that might be best served by different solutions. A multi-pronged attack might be warranted.

1. Open marketplace for on-farm education. (see attachment) The farmers path - low res.pdf (2.8 MB)

Essentially a digital portal where all the farm tours, workshops, courses, training and internships in Australia are listed. People can easily search, read reviews and register. Wannabe farmers could create their own ‘learning pathway’ through many different learning opportunities.

The same portal could help farmers who are thinking about hosting interns etc with toolkits, legal help, EH&S, Insurance, best practice etc etc.

2. More learning content
I’d love to be part of conversations around more content for teaching young farmers. This could be a Rhodale equivalent in Aus, or a whole raft of different ideas. I think the more the merrier in this camp. And would looove to explore ideas with everyone.

3. A young organic/regenerative farmers association
Joel at Deep Winter made a good point around Australia having lots of small organisations doing great work in this area all over the country. But nothing unifying them together, like ‘Greenhorns’ in the US. So perhaps there is also scope for something in this space?

I’m super keen to hear any feedback or thoughts around the quick presentation I put together to address option 1. I suspect the revenue model could be pretty marginal in the early years, so might need to rely on sponsorship etc?

Any and all thoughts are much welcomed. I’d love to throw this into the world and see if we can collectively get something off the ground.

Cheers everyone

The presentation is looking great! Nice work Lachy!

I think the development of a young regenerative farmer association is a discussion that might need to happen separately? I would love to see a Greenhorns equivalent happening in Australia but maybe it needs to be separate to the business model associated with Farmers Path so that it doesn’t complicate things? It could be about more than education and training, and involve work around access to land, funding, share farming, promoting young farmers, lobbying for policy reform etc… I don’t know. But I’d love to be apart of this discussion.

I’m cautious about forming yet another organisation that has the same goals
as
The youth food movement
Fair food farmers
Aus food sovereignty alliance
Young wild farmers ( although a less formal group)
And others.

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Both really good points Fraser and Courtney.

I reckon it’s a seperate convo. I’m keen to focus on #1 and support others on #2 if it has legs.

Maybe someone wants to start another thread for #3 if there is interest?

Next step for the open marketplace platform idea will be trying to assess the size of a potential market for courses, workshops, training etc in regenerative/organic ag in Aus… where to bloody start!! Anyone got any research or stats they can point towards?

This is looking terrific. We at Serpentine Jarrahdale Food and Farm Alliance would be really keen to stay in touch and participate in future developments.

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Hi Everyone,
I have some land near Jindivick in W Gippsland that I’d be happy to have local organic farmers use. Any suggestions welcome.
Cheers
Fran

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Agreed Fraser! But like Joel was saying, they’re all sort of lacking a sense of unity and not really doing much on the ground. I’d love to see Fair Food Farmers or Young Wild Farmers do more around this, we’re just struggling with capacity- I set up YWF and I’m working for AFSA at the moment. But we should definitely continue this convo in another thread with Joel’s input too.

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Hi guys,

Us dudes over at Farmer Incubator have been working hard at growing into something similar to what you’re discussing - like Court mentioned, our issue at the moment is capacity, but that should change soon fingers crossed.
I so wish I could’ve made it to Deep Winter, but let’s get in touch Lachy!
Emmy@farmerincubator.org

awesome. Just shot you an email Emmy. Lets chat :slight_smile:

Hi Team,

Looking great and exciting to see so many people on board. I think the open learning portal or at least the portal listing opportunities is essential to our industry… I guess a model that most would have seen before but works well is the young agrarians from canada under their ‘tools’ heading… I agree with the rest that say the formalising of another group should be left for another discussion, but in terms of where to put this portal it is still an important discussion. I don’t think we need a whole separate website for it do we? Or can we incorporate it with one or more of these groups?

In terms of the content side, Fraser and I have had many a coffee-fueled chat about the idea of getting a semi formal on farm education thing going on a working educational farm. Similar to the rodale or stonebarn internships but would hopefully become self-sufficient overtime. The idea we’ve been playing around with though would require a lot of upfront capital… which brings me to the question of how much you are able to share from your investment background Lachy? It would be amazing if you had tips or examples to share of how to attract investors, examples of applications ect?

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SAGE Student farm_inCUBEator description.pdf (54.3 KB)

This is my brain dump on SAGE’s pathway program. I spoke with Lachy about this yesterday. I’m keen to re-inforce that we’re not attached to “owning” this idea, if someone wants to pinch it, mould it whatever-take it away. I envisage that if we could get an appropriate formal qualification attached ( or modules that count towards a degree or diploma, I’ve chatted with Rob Fenton at NEC about this and he’s confident we could do it) the student farmers could get Austudy. It would be awesome to have 3 or 4 of these campuses around the country in different climatic zones and the students could move around. Anyways I see problems with it, just need to iron those out.

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Hey Emmy,

This all sounds awesome. I’d be more than happy to help with how to create an effective proposal doc. I’m not sure there are any proposals we are allowed to share publicly (all are commercial in confidence). But I might be able to track down one of my own that I have previously written on other projects. Leave it with me.

Either way I would certainly be able to help you out on this. I looooove the idea of a network of farm schools offering the best quality training pathway possible.

And it could all link in nicely to the Farmers Path platform.

Maybe we need another thread about the farm incubator school? So split the ‘farm school concept’ onto another discussion as we share and craft up a proposal? What you think?

Fraser this is awesome.

I would love to see this idea come to life. And like you say, a few campuses in different climates could be awesome.

I’ll get back to y’all soon with a sample proposal or notes on the best structure / approach / questions that would need to be answered.

Stoked to see how many people are keen to throw their energy into this.

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