An In-Depth Hybrid Series for Beginning Farmers

Are you looking to start a farm? Do you have plans to begin selling a food product? Are you a couple years into operating your farm or food business and could benefit from refining your business plan? Join a small cohort of beginning farmers to learn from topic experts and get paired with a farm mentor for the series.

The Whole Farm Planning & Mentoring program is an 8-week series that leads 15 beginning farmers and food entrepreneurs through the process of planning their business. Through weekly webinars with topic experts and one-on-one meetings with mentors, participants will learn the key components of starting a business with the goal of creating a new or refined business plan.

We will begin with the important work of visioning, then walk through the nuts and bolts of forming a business, creating sound financial plans, innovative marketing strategies, regulatory considerations and funding opportunities. Participants will hear from business experts, as well as current farm and food business owners who will bring their personal experiences and real world examples to the conversation. Participants are expected to attend all webinars, complete weekly assignments, and communicate with their mentor between sessions.

We are seeking beginning farmers and food entrepreneurs who are committed to developing a farm or food business in any sector. Participants should live in one of the Appalachian counties of Ohio or West Virginia.

In-Person Opening | Jan. 15, 3-5 p.m.

Gather in person with the 2022 Whole Farm cohort of beginning farmers and mentors to kick off the series, introduce yourself and your current farm business or dream, and meet one-on-one with your mentor. Location: United Plant Savers

Session 1: Envision Your Business | Jan. 18, 6:30-8 p.m.

Envision your whole business using the Business Model Canvas, a simple and effective tool for putting all of your thoughts on one page. Location: Virtual

Session 2: Write Your Mission & Goals | Jan. 25, 6:30-8 p.m.

Synthesize your values into a compelling mission statement and set measurable goals for success. Location: Virtual

Session 3: Start Your Business | Feb. 1, 6:30-8 p.m.

Take the next step in starting up your business as we work through your startup checklist, including deciding on a business structure, opening a business bank account, and navigating the legalities of farming. Location: Virtual

Session 4: Understand the Regulations | Feb. 8, 6:30-8 p.m.

Hear from food and farming professionals about the regulatory requirements in your sector and learn from experienced business owners about how they have navigated these regulations. Location: Virtual

Session 5: Tell Your Story | Feb. 15, 6:30-8 p.m.

Tell your story from the get-go so you can promote your products, cultivate a customer base, and develop a marketing strategy to establish your business in the local marketplace. Location: Virtual

Session 6: Prepare for Change | Feb. 22, 6:30-8 p.m.

Assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats so that you can cultivate resilience and prepare to pivot. Location: Virtual

Session 7: Plan for Profit | March 1, 6:30-8 p.m.

Learn how to manage your finances so that you can make informed financial decisions, analyze your business’s performance, and develop budgets to plan for profit. Location: Virtual

Session 8: Fundraise Creatively | March 8, 6:30-8 p.m.

Discover the funding opportunities that may be available to your business and learn from a panel of producers who have secured grants, loans, and crowdfunding campaigns. Location: Virtual

In-Person Closing | March 12, 2-5 p.m.

Gather in-person with the 2022 Whole Farm cohort once again to reflect on the series, share about the progress you’ve made, and hear from the group about how we can support one another moving forward. Location: United Plant Savers

REGISTER CLOSED

Cost of registration

  • Regular price – $150
  • Discounted price – $100 (enter Promo Code: DISCOUNT)
  • Early-bird $25 discount (ends Dec. 17 – Promo Code: EARLYBIRD)

Limited scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply for a scholarship, please download and complete this application and email it to Molly Sowash at molly@ruralaction.org.

Registration closed Jan. 10