Farmer Circles are peer learning communities for farmers interested in discussing a particular topic in an informal, supportive environment. Each circle meets for at least 12 hours over the course of about one year and is facilitated by a CT farmer with interest in the subject. There are no teachers or students in the circles, just a community of farmers coming together to learn from each other! The circles are best suited to farmers who have been farming 3+ years, but are open to all.  

Although most circles started in spring of 2021, we've re-opened registration so new farmers can join in.

Currently all farmer circles meet virtually, but there is the potential for in-person gatherings in the near future!








Current farmer circles:


Cooperative Farming
Facilitated by Rachel Berg
Monthly meeting based on group availability
April 2021-April 2022

 

The Cooperative Farming circle will be exploring some of the many aspects of cooperative farming. We hope to discuss the goals of cooperative farming and acquaint ourselves with a variety of existing cooperative structures and agreements - all while dreaming about our own cooperative futures.


Building Food Sovereignty
Facilitated by Janna Siller
Monthly meeting based on group availability
April 2021-April 2022

The Building Food Sovereignty Farmers Circle is focused on building food sovereignty within the state. We discuss different ways farmers can partner with food access agencies, nonprofits, mutual aid organizations, community stakeholders, and each other to build resilience and justice in the CT food system.

 

Janna Siller is the Farm Director at Adamah, a diversified organic farm and educational program in Falls Village, CT.


Farmer Wellness
Facilitated by Ellie Youngblood
Monthly meeting based on group availability
April 2021-April 2022

As farmers, we know that often the needs of the farm come first. While a farm may seem to be thriving from the outside looking in, often it is on the back of many overworked farmers who are putting their own needs aside for the sake of the business. This Farmer Circle is intended to be a meeting space for us to discuss the pressures of farming that exist, both on an industry level and the more nuanced struggles we individually feel finding balance. For different individuals, this balance is likely tailored to your own circumstances and needs. This Circle aims to create a supportive environment where we can set personal goals to have a more holistically healthy lifestyle.

 

We will seek to answer these questions:

 

  • What are the historical circumstances that led farmers to this place?

  • How do we prioritize our health when there is always more to be done on the farm?

  • What framework can we use to shift our perspective on what a farmers life “should be”?



BIPOC Affinity Circle
Rotating facilitator, facilitation training by Gaby Pereyra
Monthly meeting based on group availability
June 2021-June 2022
This circle is a space for Black farmers, Indigenous farmers, and Farmers of Color to join together, share common challenges and opportunities, and build power. 

The BIPOC Affinity farmer circle is being supported by the Southern New England Farmers of Color Collaborative and the New England Farmers of Color Land Trust. All participants of this circle will receive a $15/hr stipend. 


Farm Financials
Facilitated by Will O’Meara
Monthly meeting based on group availability
April 2021-April 2022


Crop Planning
Facilitated by Molly Culver
Monthly meeting based on group availability
April 2021-April 2022

This circle discusses crop planning organizational tools/approaches and farming techniques that relate to crop planning, such as crop rotations, cover cropping, seed ordering/bulk seed calculations. We also like to generally check in and use the time to seek support with specific farm related challenges.  



Launching soon (If the circles below receive enough signups, they will begin meeting in November, 2021):


Hemp Production
Facilitated by Luis Vega
Second Tuesday of the month, 10am
Launching November, 2021

The revival of hemp as an agricultural crop leaves many questions. Many Connecticut farmers have started to grow it for different purposes, may it be for CBD or for hemp stalks. This new crop opens many questions and challenges we can use some old solutions for. This Farmer’s Circle will be a space to discuss the trials, successes and challenges we face cultivating this new (to us) crop.


Flower Farming

Facilitated by Isabelle Barron
Launching November, 2021



 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have an idea for a farmer circle?

Farmer Circles can be regional, topic based, or identity based. As long as there's a group of farmers that want to get together in a semi-structured way for discussions, we'd love to support it. We're always looking for facilitators to lead new groups. Interested? Shoot us an email at newctfarmers@gmail.com with a circle proposal. Your proposal should include:
 

  • The circle topic

  • Why this topic is relevant to CT farmers, and any demonstrated interest you've seen that makes you think this circle would be successful

  • Any relevant facilitation experience you might have

  • What are your learning objectives?

  • How often will the circle meet?

  • Will it be virtual or in person?

  • Will you facilitate every meeting or rotate facilitators/encourage participant presentations?

  • A sample meeting agenda

     

We will assess proposals on a rolling basis. Facilitators receive a yearly stipend of $800.


 

The Farmer Circles are organized by: 

  • NCTFA – coordinator & steering committee members

  • CT NOFA – co-coordinator

  • UConn Extension representatives

  • Advisory and Outreach team made up of CT farmers: Dishaun Harris, Brittany Conover, Xochitl Ahtziri


Please reach out to NCTFA's coordinator, MC Whelan, at newctfarmers@gmail.com with any questions or comments regarding this project.

This program is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2020-70017-32733