Making a Livelihood on the Land, Friday Aprll 22, 9am to 5PM

Application deadline was April 1 and this workshop is now full. Learn more about our other workshops here!

A live, on-site workshop for new or aspiring farmers at Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Education Center, Orange MA

Space limited, Application required, read on for link (due 4/1 or sooner!), Sliding scale (powered by generosity)

Seeds of Solidarity is excited to host this workshop at their successful small vegetable farm created on land many deemed unfarmable, and in a low wealth community. The paradigm of farming on expansive acreage with expensive machinery is inaccessible to most, and often not ecologically or personally sustainable. Roadblocks to farming as a livelihood are based in centuries of injustice that impact who has access to land, resources, and power. Farming must be reimagined so young, low wealth, and farmers of color can stay in, feed, and forge a livelihood in their urban, rural, or suburban communities, or in those to which they relocate.

If you are a new or aspiring farmer in the Northeast seeking

  • expertise on creative ways to find and access land
  • ideas for funds and financing
  • low-budget farming techniques for personal and climate resilience
  • conversation about allies and community building

A terrific group of co-presenters is excited to share expertise and inspiration with you:

We are: Leigh Youngblood, Land Justice Consultant; Rose Arruda, MA Food Trust and Urban Agriculture coordinator at MDAR; Rebecca Busansky, PV Grows investment fund manager at Franklin County CDC; Shaunia Flowers creator of 2 Cents Homegrown urban holistic herb, produce and flower farm; Ricky Baruc and Deb Habib, Seeds of Solidarity co-founders, farmers, and food justice workers. (full presenter bios at end)

We are striving for a participant group that is at least 50% people of color and/or low-wealth. In dedication to a rising, diverse generation of new farmers, we offer this workshop at a deeply discounted sliding scale rate of $15 to $85 with lunch included (actual value of $185). Spaces are limited. Apply here by April 1 or sooner.  Bonus: Participants may choose to stay for Saturday morning April 23 to receive support for their own farm visions.

This workshop is made possible through generosity.

CDC advised COVID protocol current on the workshop date will be followed.

More about the facilitators and presenters for this workshop:

Leigh Youngblood has worked creatively with hundreds of landowners and aspiring landowners to complete sales, purchases, easements, and leases of land for living, farming, conservation, and more. Growing up with a large organic garden in Springfield’s North End nurtured her love for nature and the out of doors and a deeply held recognition that access to land is essential for all of us. 

Rose Arruda is the Coordinator for the Massachusetts Food Trust, Food Ventures and Urban Agriculture programs at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), as well as MDAR’s representative for the state’s Environmental Justice Task Force.

Shaunia Flowers is creator of 2 Cents Homegrown, a mother daughter small Urban holistic herb, produce and flower farm. Their value-added  second half is called “The Broke Vegan”  where they share some of their very own farmers market inspired creations such as our kitchen made black bean salsa, salads and vegan baked goods. During covid (they  wrote a cookbook) to continue to try to keep people connected with local healthy food sources. They plan to launch a mobile market and online store to their Springfield community this summer!

Rebecca Busansky is a Program Manager at the Franklin County Community Development Corporation where she manages the PVGrows Investment Fund (PVGIF) and Mass Food Trust Program (MFTP). PVGIF provides financing and technical assistance to farm and local food entrepreneurs through community investments. MFTP provides healthy food financing to underserved communities. She joined the FCCDC team in 2015 to launch the PVGrows Investment Fund, with a focus on developing and maintaining relationships with local food system entrepreneurs and community investors. She has an undergraduate degree from Brown University in American Civilization and has worked in community economic development for more than 25 years.

Ricky Baruc and Deb Habib are the founders of Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Education Center. They are three decade farmers who transformed barren land into a solar-powered farm oasis using no-till methods and simple tools, and have taught thousands of gardeners and farmers their techniques. They provide Grow Food Everywhere programs for toddlers to teens to people who are incarcerated in order to transform hunger to health, and create climate resilient lives and communities. Ricky and Deb are authors of Making Love While Farming: A Field Guide to a Life of Passion and Purpose