New Farmer Mentorship Program
Sooke Food CHI recognizes the need to have more local food production which means more people getting into farming. The idea of connecting people who want to farm with those who have farming experience became a viable method of linking people to transfer knowledge and skill. The Sooke Region New Farmer Mentorship (SRFM) program was created and administered for the first time in 2009/2010 and ran a second year of 2010/2011.
The vision of the program to assist the transfer of valuable information gained by experienced farmers throughout their lifetime to new farmers across the region. We did this through training, networking, and partnership opportunities through farm tours, one-on-one mentorship, sharing of resources and connecting community members. Drawing on regional knowledge, expertise and success of local farms we work to encourage new growers in the region.
In having a program that “grows” farmers, our goals are to
- increase the number and diversity of sustainable farms in the region
- inspire others to grow
- enhance our dynamic local markets
- Connecting experienced farmers with aspiring ones
- Providing experiential, relational learning and networking
- Attracting people to and increase the number and diversity of small-scale, sustainable farms in the region
- Exploring and promoting land availability in region
- Building program as critical education and networking tool for growers in all communities.
The program helped our community in that through the various components of the program actively address the important issues of food security and sovereignty, and collaborative, localized education and economies. In have a program that “grows” more farmers, we not only help but contribute to our community by:
- furthering support of local business and economic development (restaurants, cuisine tourism)
- exploring and promote land availability in region
- fostering social inclusion, community engagement, and acceptance of differences through creating opportunities to establish relationships within and across physical and social barriers (inter-generational exposure to cultural traditions, cultural exchange with other gardeners etc.).
- enhancing food production in our area and our dynamic local markets. In having new growers in the area we are able to ‘step up’ local food production selling locally providing access to fresh produce and nutritionally rich foods that may otherwise be unavailable and help give people greater control over where their food comes from.
- promoting the development of a sustainable community identity and spirit as one that has green initiatives from a grassroots, collaborative level .
- encouraging awareness about food security, food miles, and the potential to reduce fossil-fuel emissions as less food needs to be shipped from far off places.
If you would like more information or would like to be involved in the future please contact Sooke Food CHI at firstname.lastname@example.org