NIFTI & AgALN Field School
2021 National FIELD School - NIFTI and AgALN
October 2021 | In partnership with the National Farm Viability Conference
For 2021, we will again be hosting a virtual conference event as we all continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. We are excited to host the 2021 FIELD School in collaboration with the 5th National Farm Viability Conference. The National Farm Viability Conference is a biennial event that is focused on strengthening farm sustainability, building stronger and more resilient local food systems and supporting long term profitability of farming and agri-entrepreneurs from start-ups through to generational businesses. The conference offers professionals in the fields of farm and food business planning, financial planning, agricultural financing, farmland conservation, agricultural market development, and food hub management the opportunity to learn from and with colleagues, develop new skills, and connect with farm viability professionals from across the country. FIELD School sessions relevant to incubator farm and apprenticeship training programs will be organized within a track throughout the month-long virtual National Farm Viability Conference this October. FIELD School attendees can take advantage of our incubator and apprenticeship-focused professional development workshops and enjoy any and all of the conference sessions and networking opportunities. Stay tuned for the Call for Proposals and Conference Registration!
Prior National FIELD Schools
We host the National Field School in a different community each year. We move the annual conferences across the country to create regional equity and to experience and honor the land and climates where our networks of apprenticeship and incubator farmers thrive. We annually bring together over 45-60 organizations from almost every US state (and Canada) to participate in workshops, breakout and open space sessions, goal setting and networking opportunities. Peer-to-peer sharing informs beginning farmer trainers about how they run successful incubator and apprenticeship training programs. Folks gather ideas for their farms and programs, and spent time building relationships with people passionate about our collective work. We also host field trips to local incubator and apprenticeship projects to see programs' land-based facilities, farm/ranch operations, and to learn together how each incubator farm and apprenticeship training program is unique. We often hear from farmer participants during these tours to get a holistic perspective on participants' involvement in the programs.
2020: The year of COVID-19! We held our 9th annual FIELD School virtually in collaboration with Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's 35th annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference. The National FIELD School “Track” included an informative lineup of incubator and apprenticeship training program-focused workshops throughout the multi-day conference for participants. We also hosted “meetups”, facilitated discussion sessions, virtual farm tours, and staffed a virtual “trade show” table where participants learned more about the newly emerging FIELD Network (the combination of our NIFTI and AgALN national networks)! See the 2020 schedule of workshops and link to session recordings (purchase required). Over 250 unique participants attend the National FIELD School in 2020, the virtual format allowed even more participants to attend, learn from one another, and share best practices to improve land-based, experiential farmer/rancher training programs. Special thanks to our 2020 National FIELD School planning team: Beth LaShell, Ft. Lewis College; Matt Gordon, Rogue Farm Corps, Clare Reisman, UCSC CASFS Agroecology Apprenticeship Program; Leah Ricci, Quivira Coalition, and Aaron Newton, Steward.
2019: We held our 8th annual and first ever combined NIFTI & AgALN Field Schools in Ithaca, NY, hosted by New Entry and The Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming. We held two conference tracks: one for incubator farm programs and one for apprenticeship training programs. Incubator programs visited Groundswell Center's Incubator Farm in Ithaca, NY and RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Self Empowerment) SYRAP program in Syracuse, NY. The Apprenticeship Programs visited Kingbird Farm and Northland Sheep Dairy. View the 2019 Conference Brochure and Workshop Descriptions.
2018: The 7th annual NIFTI network Field School was held in Boulder, CO hosted by Denver Botanic Gardens and Ft. Lewis College (Old Fort at Hesperus Incubator Program) with site visits to Poudre Valley Community Farms, 5 Fridges Farm, Denver Green School, and The GrowHaus.
2017: The 6th annual NIFTI Field School was held in CA at Asilomar State Beach and Conference Center in Pacific Grove, CA with a site visit to ALBA (Association of Land-Based Training) in Salinas, CA.
The 1st annual AgALN Annual Gathering was held in Boston, MA hosted by New Entry Sustainable Farming Project as a pre-conference to our first national Community Food Systems Conference. We also hosted a launch meeting for the AgALN Network at Paicines Ranch in CA earlier in the year.