Farming Beyond Borders

NOFA-VERMONT'S FARMING BEYOND BORDERS PROGRAM:
A Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange Program

Statement of Purpose

The Farming Beyond Borders Program of NOFA-Vermont creates and supports farmer to farmer exchanges between Vermont organic farmers and farmers beyond Vermont’s borders in order to increase production, improve environmental sustainability and strengthen financial viability via mutually beneficial relationships and cross-cultural exchange.

Goals

 Build a stronger and more profitable global sustainable agriculture movement
 Support small to medium scale agriculturalists with Vermont farmers’ expertise
 Learn from producers outside of Vermont and disseminate key information to Vermont’s agriculture community
 Increase farmers’ cross-cultural cooperation and understanding through the creation of grassroots networks of support

Rationale

In the face of large-scale industrial agriculture, a growing bio-tech industry, global food trade and threats to land rights around the world, a healthy place-based food system must be forged through the concerted effort of many committed consumers, organizations and farmers themselves. Farmer-to- farmer interaction has proven effective as an educational methodology and catalyst for change. NOFA-Vermont’s Farming Beyond Borders Program creates platforms for the mutually beneficial exchange of ideas, skills and technical information to energize farmers to adopt best organic practices and increase profitability. Regarded as innovative leaders, Vermont’s organic producers are highly experienced in areas such as marketing cooperatives, greenhouses, organic certification, seed production, organic dairy and business management. Many of these seasoned farmers have a desire to freely share their knowledge to support other farmers’ success as well as to continue to improve their own businesses through in-depth learning opportunities.

Status of Project

This program was launched in June, 2012 and the first farmer to farmer exchange took place in El Salvador in collaboration with Winrock International. For this exchange, 6 organic farmers worked in El Salvador for 3 weeks, providing technical assistance in organic vegetable production and dairy goat management. Since that first event, NOFA-VT has partnered with Equi-Terre, a non-profit association in Quebec, to organize a Community Supported Agriculture Quebec-Vermont farmer training, and organize annual learning journeys outside of Vermont’s borders.

Farming Beyond Borders: Cuba 
Farming Beyond Borders: Puerto Rico