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Get Growing: Resources for a Career in Farming

Square Roots | 07.23.20

There’s no one way to break into farming, and the diverse resumes of the Square Roots farm team prove that everyone’s pathways are unique. Our farmers come from backgrounds as far reaching as education, biology, technology, and nonprofit work, but the common thread is a proven passion for local, real food and sustainable food systems. As part of our mission to empower the next generation of leaders in urban agriculture, we put together a list of our favorite resources for new and aspiring farmers.

Two farmers harvesting basil inside Square Roots' indoor vertical farms.

Recommended Reading (Listening, Watching, Scrolling)

Food Tech Connect

Website/Newsletter

Why we love it: For those of us interested in the intersection of food innovation, technology, and the transformation of the food system, Food + Tech Connect is a vital resource. Subscribe to the newsletter to stay up on what’s new and what’s next.

Rotten

Docu-series

Why we love it: We know there are serious flaws in our food system, but Rotten goes all the way in on the stories behind the foods we eat every day. For better or worse, you’ll never look at an avocado the same way.

The Lean Farm

Book

Why we love it: The Lean Farm takes waste-reduction practices from the Japanese automotive industry and applies them to small-scale farming. It’s central to our farmer training program at Square Roots, and we use these practices ourselves to be more resource efficient on the farms.

@USDAgov

Instagram

Why we love it: Yep, Instagram can be an incredible education tool! Fill your feed with food and farming by following the USDA. They cover so many interesting topics and programs in agriculture today—on top of having beautiful photos.

Modern Farmer

Online Magazine

Why we love it: Modern Farmer describes itself as “dedicated to people who care about where their food comes from.” They write some amazing articles highlighting today’s farmers with a specific focus on small-scale agriculture.

NYC Market Growers Update

Newsletter

Why we love it: Managed by the NYC Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Market Growers Update features highlights, issues, and workshops for urban agriculture in the NYC area.

Farming While Black

Book

Why we love it: This is the most comprehensive history of Black agriculture, and a must read for anyone interested in today's food system.

Bite

Podcast

Why we love it: Bite is an in-depth look at our food system, including insights relating to politics, science, equity, farming, and restaurants. Episodes are frequently linked to current events and news as well.

Farming Pathways

Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming

Apprenticeship

Why we love it: Glynwood offers apprenticeships in soil farming that include onsite housing in the Hudson Valley and a living stipend. The program covers everything from managing a farm budget to tractor training, and the majority of their alumni continue careers in agriculture.

Green City Force

Training Program

Why we love it: Green City Force is an Americorps program training young leaders to power a green and inclusive economy through service. They have six farms built across NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) developments and work directly with communities to develop solutions for green infrastructure.

University of Arizona Intensives

University Training Program

Why we love it: UA Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) is one of the few university programs that focuses intensely on greenhouse growing and hydroponics. They offer week-long courses that teach the details of growing hydroponic tomatoes and lettuce, in addition to a greenhouse design course. They feature industry leaders and cover topics like food safety, budgets, and marketing.

Upstart University

Online Education

Why we love it: Learn to farm online! While nothing can replace hands-on learning, Upstart offers online resources and courses to get your farm up and running.

Good Food Jobs

Job Board

Why we love it: Getting a job in farming is one of the best ways to learn about, well, farming. Good Food Jobs is the central hub for food and farming jobs.

Soulfire Farm

Training Program

Why we love it: Soulfire Farm is a community farm in upstate New York committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. Their annual farming immersion programs for aspiring and beginner growers of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx heritage teach basic skills in regenerative farming.

Square Roots Next-Gen Farmer Training Program

Training Program

We would be remiss if we didn’t include our own farmer training program! The Next-Gen Farmer Training Program is aimed at new farmers, or those at early stages in their careers. Participants initially join the Square Roots farm team as an apprentice grower (a full-time, paid position, similar to an internship). Through our proprietary training methodology and hands-on experience, apprentice growers rapidly learn the essential farm skills needed to move into permanent roles on the farm team and accelerate their careers.

GROW NYC Beginning Farmer Program

Training Program

Why we love it: Based in NYC, the Beginning Farmer Program trains new and aspiring farmers within New York City, Upstate New York, New Jersey, and Northeastern Pennsylvania. The program’s aim is to keep farmland in production and strengthen rural communities.

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