“Farm Planner Manual”
2018 – 2020
Everdale developed the first versions of The Farm Planner course in 2008 and has run it successfully since that time. During that time, Everdale was contacted by many different organizations who were hoping to learn from their experience and maybe run their own course in their own community. Everdale strives to help with all requests of this nature for any of our programs. Unfortunately, they don’t have the capacity to help everyone.
With generous support from The Counselling Foundation, Everdale was able to compile a ‘how to’ manual for The Farm Planner program. This document (paired with The Sustainable Farming Certificate Manual, also funded by The Counselling Foundation) has proven to be a great asset when talking to other organizations interested in the course. It is an easy to share the document and provides the recipient with many of the tools they would require to run their own program. Their hope is that the manual will allow a network of like-minded organizations to collaborate in reaching many more prospective farmers. These organizations could also work together to improve the course in ways that individual organizations never could. More recently, having the manual in hand allowed Everdale to collaborate with another organization to quickly pivot the course into an online format.
A couple key insights from this work:
There is no ‘magic bullet’ solution for creating an equitable and sustainable food system. The Farm Planner and Sustainable Farming Certificate Manual’s should not be used with a mind to replicate either program in its entirety. They provide insight into how Everdale has approached farmer training over the past two decades. Every piece of land, every community and every farmer are different. We’ve learned along the way that all these factors contribute to the success of a program. We’ve found something that works well for us but we still continue to change with the hopes of making the programs even better. We encourage other individuals and organizations to use whatever parts of our program make sense for their particular context, but caution against an uninformed replication. We look forward to the day when each community has their own neighbour farm designed to meet the needs of the people who live there. A network of teaching farms that can all work together to share resources and make each other’s programs better.
Everdale’s mission is to be a farm-based organization that provides hands-on, solution-based food and farming education to build and engage healthy local communities. In the year 1998, Everdale was built on the dream that practical learning and hands-on experience are the keys to forging a future where agriculture works sustainably with our local environment. Everdale’s facilities and programs are designed to educate people about farm and food issues while fostering connections between farmers, consumers and the environment.