Business Bootcamp for New Farmers

Posted by Alex on August 30, 2021

Current Status
Not Enrolled
Price
$250-350
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Young Agrarians presents the Business Bootcamp for new farmers! This online, community-based program will give you the space and skills to write a stellar business plan for the farm of your dreams.

The next programs will run in Fall 2024 and Winter 2025. Click the button below to be notified when dates are announced and program registration is open!

Looking for more information? Click on the questions below!

 

Overview

The Business Bootcamp is an eleven-week program, packed full of content and activities that will guide you through writing your farm business plan. Registration in the course includes access to a 40 page printable workbook, over 35 video tutorials, a curated list of more than 80 of our favourite business planning resources, and 20+ hours of virtual support and instruction, all broken down into easily digestible weekly modules. Each week will include pre-recorded videos, a worksheet, and a 2-hour online session.

The Business Bootcamp will cover everything from writing a mission statement to creating a financial plan to defining a marketing strategy. In this program you will have the opportunity to:

  • Delve into the parts of a good farm business plan
  • Gain insights from experts on your farm business
  • Get to know others in farm start-up
  • Hear ideas and inspiration from your peers
  • Set yourself up to access capital

This program is open to all new and aspiring farmers who want to gain the skills and knowledge to write (or rewrite) a business plan for a farm enterprise. The Business Bootcamp is a great place to explore the viability of your farm dream, figure out details for your first growing season, or to investigate adding another enterprise to your current farm. You don’t have to own a farm yet, but having at least one full season of farming experience is advised for participants. All production types are welcome!

Is the Business Bootcamp for you?

The Business Bootcamp is best suited for folks who have some production experience and little or no farm business planning experience. We recommend having at least one year of hands-on farming experience (on your own farm or someone else’s) and more-or-less know what you want to grow and roughly how to grow it. Having a clear business concept will ensure that you get the most out of the program – but you do not need to know anything about business planning. 

The Business Bootcamp is geared towards individuals or farm teams who:

  • Are planning on starting up an agricultural operation in the near future; or
  • Are looking to expand an existing farm or hobby enterprise; or
  • Want to start a new enterprise on an existing farm

Hear from some past participants of the Bootcamp:

The Art of Growing Food and Relationships – Natasha
Planted Allies – Rachelle
Bountiful Bay Farm & Nursery – Ashley
Pandemic Planting Project – David

In this video, Aras and Anastasia of Caspian Acres Farm share about their experience writing a business plan in the Business Bootcamp:

Not sure if the Business Bootcamp is right for you? Let’s chat! Reach our team at elearning@youngagrarians.org

Looking for other resources? Check out our other E-Learning programs!

Program Format

The Business Bootcamp will run online for 11 consecutive weeks with one topic per week. Live sessions are held on Thursday evenings (6 pm PT, 7 pm MT, 8 pm CT).

Each week includes:

  • Video content, 30 – 45 minutes
  • Live sessions with speakers, 2 hours
  • Worksheets, 20 minutes to 2 hours. Work at your own pace! 
  • Additional readings and exploring new resources

If you require any accommodations to make this program accessible, connect with our team elearning@youngagrarians.org. 

The program is structured to facilitate farmer-to-farmer learning, which means it’s different from a standard webinar. Each week participants are expected to watch a pre-recorded video from each speaker and complete a worksheet before attending the online, live session via Zoom.

Each speaker video covers the main concepts for their area of expertise. Some videos will focus on various elements of a business plan while others will be a story of how a farmer started their farm business.

Each topic will also have a worksheet to complete. You can expect to spend 30 minutes to 2 hours+ on each worksheet depending on the current state of your business plan and the specifics of your farm enterprise. These worksheets will help you solidify your farm vision and write your business plan.

During the live session, you have the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers and to share your completed worksheet with peers in small groups. These sessions are participatory and driven by your needs. They’re also a great way to meet other new farmers! We have live transcription available during all of our sessions.

Speakers

We have carefully selected an exceptional team of course speakers to help you get your farm business off the ground! Learn from these amazing first-generation farmers and business experts.

The Business Bootcamp is facilitated by Alex Pulwicki, E-Learning Manager and Chantelle Chan, E-Learning Coordinator at Young Agrarians.

Alex loves nothing more than bringing together people to celebrate local food and farms! As the E-Learning Manager for Young Agrarians she gets to meet amazing new and aspiring farmers and help them to connect with the resources and support needed to start farming. She enjoys making online spaces a place to build connections with people near and far. Alex has worked and volunteered at a number of farms across Alberta and is passionate about local dairy and cheesemaking. She currently sits on the Edmonton Food Council and is in the early stages of starting a small herbal tea farm. You can reach Alex at alex@youngagrarians.org.

Chantelle is curious about most things (including all things farming), and often straddles roles of learner and teacher/facilitator. A city kid with a homestead dream, she grew up with the abundance of her poh-poh’s (grandma) backyard veggies and goji berry bush. In 2021, they started an urban flower farm with a friend, Suelo & Faa. Suelo is Spanish for soil, and Faa is Cantonese for flower, reflecting their family backgrounds. They transform under-utilized yards into micro farm sites and operate a CSA program. She has led teams in different realms – outdoor recreation education, environmental stewardship, event planning and e-commerce, with elements of team-building, group facilitation, learning and development woven in the mix. Operator of a neurodivergent brain. The power and possibilities of regenerative farming practices to address the impacts of climate change is a good reason to be hopeful. Contact Chantelle at elearning@youngagrarians.org

Requirements

To fully participate in the program, participants should have reliable access to a computer and a stable internet connection (to join Zoom video calls). Please contact Chantelle at elearning@youngagrarians.org if you need technical support. 

Cost

We love supporting new and young farmers to grow! To make the Business Bootcamp more affordable we are offering a sliding scale payment, which means that you are able to select how much you pay to participate.

The suggested sliding scale cost is $250–$350, which is $25–$35 per session. If you are not able to pay on the suggested sliding scale, you are welcome to contribute an amount that works for you. No one will be turned away from our programs for lack of funds. 

We base the price range on the cost of running the program (coordination, speaker fees, facilitation, program development, and online infrastructure). When you register you are able to enter any amount as a registration fee. If you’d like to learn more, please go to “What is sliding scale payment? Why do we use it?”.

Farm partners/teams that are working on the same business plan can register together. If you have any questions, would like to pay without using a credit card, and/or want to arrange a payment plan, then please contact Chantelle at elearning@youngagrarians.org

FAQ

A farm business plan can take many different shapes and forms. The content and structure of a business plan will change depending on your needs – a business plan will look quite different if you are using it internally for strategic planning than if you’re going to take it to a lender to access financing. Since there is no “one size fits all” business plan, the Business Bootcamp is focused more on exploring the various elements of a good business plan specifically related to starting a farm. The worksheets and videos are meant to explain the parts of a business plan and prepare you to write one that suits your particular situation. We also provide several good business plan templates and a curated list of 80+ resources for completing a business plan.

The program is 11 weeks long. Each week will have 30–45 minutes of video content and each live session is 2 hours long. You can also expect to spend 30 minutes to 2 hours (or more) on each worksheet depending on the current state of your business plan and the specifics of your farm enterprise.

Each week will require about 3–5 hours of your time.

All sessions are held on Thursdays from 6–8 pm Pacific Time, 7–9 pm Mountain Time, 8–10 pm Central Time, 9–11 pm Atlantic Time.

Winter 2024 dates: January 11th, 18th, 25th, February 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th, March 7th, 14th, 21st.

The program will also be offered for October 2024 and January 2025.

Not a problem. All the live sessions will be recorded so you can always catch up by watching these videos. These recordings will be available only to program participants and only for the duration of the program. That being said, past participants have really enjoyed the live sessions and their farm business has benefited from connecting with the speakers and their peers, so you are encouraged to come when you can!

Absolutely! You’ll have access to the program website, which has all the pre-recorded videos, resources, and worksheets, after the Business Bootcamp is done.

The next Business Bootcamp will run from January 11th to March 21st!  Register now!

The program will also be offered in October 2024 and January 2025.

If you have written and implemented a business plan in the past, this program is unlikely to offer new information or skills to you.

If you are new to business planning, and have done some research into why you want to build one for your farm business, then this program is for you! You do not need to come equipped with skills nor knowledge in this realm.

If you have tried to create a business plan in the past, but found it difficult to find the right resources for your farming operations, or struggle to articulate your goals, then this program is for you!

Still on the fence? Reach out to us at elearning@youngagrarians.org.

Yes! You are welcome to just attend the live sessions for the topics that you are interested in.

The program is designed to deliver information through 11 weeks of content to guide participants towards building a business plan, but the content of each topic stands alone. For example, you can successfully learn about Week 7's topic without spending time on Week 6's topic or the previous topics.

Our programs are offered through a sliding scale payment model, and you are welcome to pay for the portion of content and live sessions that you intend to access.

We would love to have you in the program, regardless of your age!

Our aim is to provide resources for new and aspiring farmers. If you are 18 or 81, or anywhere in between, you're welcome to join us. Young Agrarians is for the young at heart!.

Our program materials are not specifically developed for a youth audience (13-18 years old), so younger new farmers may benefit from participating with an adult to support them.

Yes! Our weekly content is designed for farmers who will be selling directly to their customers through a variety of methods, including CSAs, farmers markets, web store, restaurants, wholesalers and more.

Whether you are on a 1/4 acre or 20 acres, the resources and knowledge can be applied to your farm!

It depends on what you need from your business plan! Generally speaking, a business plan is a document that outlines your business objectives and your strategies for achieving them. It can be used to access funding opportunities, provide clarity for decision-making and to help you set priorities for your farm.

Our modules that explore the importance of cash flow, working with lenders to access funding, risk management, operations and others topics would likely be relevant to your farm.

You may find that some modules such as branding and marketing may not directly apply to your business if you are selling directly to a grain elevator.

Reach out to elearning@youngagrarians.org, and we can provide you with more detail.

 

 

Questions or ideas? Email the E-Learning team at elearning@youngagrarians.org.
You can also check out more business resources for new farmers on our Farm Business Support page.


The Business Bootcamp is coordinated out of   ᐊᒥᐢᑿᒌᐚᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (Amiskwacîwâskahikan), which is in Treaty 6 and Métis Territory. This land is the meeting place of the Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others. As we live and work in the context of, and in response to, a colonial land title system, it is important to acknowledge the historical and ongoing impact of agriculture on Indigenous lands and food systems.  As Métis writer Chelsea Vowel says, “I think rural/Indigenous alliances have the potential to be the most transformative relationships in this country, even as they remain the least likely to occur.” In this context, we believe that it is our collective responsibility to position reconciliation, ecology and land stewardship at the forefront if we are to learn to be in relationship with the land.


SPONSORS

Thank you to Rural eHUB and AFSC for their support of the Business Bootcamp for New Farmers!