Ag & Food Producers Academy Web Banner
Image by Jennifer McCluskey

Winter Ag and Food Producers Academy, Winter 2023

Ag and Food Producers Academy 2023

General Description

The Academy is designed by the Local Foods Team in St. Lawrence County for farmers, food producers, and food entrepreneurs in northern New York. Participants of all backgrounds and skill levels are encouraged to participate. It’s best suited for producers who want to engage in making improvements to their business in a supportive environment with like-minded local entrepreneurs and instructors. We welcome individuals in the planning stages along with existing business owners eager to gain new skills.

The Academy is January-March 2023 and aims for producers to personalize their learning experience by choosing one or more of the three course options. The course design combines the convenience of online learning with the pleasure and value of field trips to area businesses. Join your fellow entrepreneurs along with Cornell Cooperative Extension for this interactive skill-building opportunity. Participants must be residents of a Northern NY community to foster stronger bioregional connections (see individual course registration pages for details).

Course Topics

One course per month throughout January-March 2023. Class sizes are limited to 15 participants. Spaces are filled on a first-come-first-serve basis. Each course contains 3 weeknight online classes held live 6:00-7:30pm, followed by a full day Saturday field trip with the entire class to 2-3 interesting regional businesses.

Registration is open for February and March courses! Find more details for each class on it's registration page.

January - Creating or Renting a Commercial Kitchen for Your Food Business - REGISTRATION CLOSED

Course will cover what is needed in commercial kitchens and points to consider when deciding what products to make and where.

February - Building an Agritourism Experience on Your Farm - REGISTRATION CLOSED

Course will cover overview of opportunities and considerations including labor, cost, marketing, risk management, marketing and insurance

March - Planning and Maintaining a High Tunnel or Greenhouse

Course will cover funding, siting, sizing, equipping and running a high tunnel

Course Layout & Platform
All participants will access resources and course materials via the Teachable learning platform. The classes themselves will be held on the free platform Zoom. Extension educators are available to answer questions about these platforms and will share a video tutorial for first-time users.

Note

In the age of online learning it’s easy to “zone out” or plan to “watch the recording later”. The classes in the Academy are designed to be interactive, with time built in for activities and questions. Participants are expected to actively engage in the various aspects of the program, which includes attending the live online classes, completing class assignments (which are specific to your business), and attending the day of field trips. Fully participating in the course will ensure that you can immediately start using what you learned to improve your business.

Participant Testimonials from the 2022 Ag and Food Producers Academy

"Participating in the Ag and Food Producers academy was exactly the training that I needed to make my business idea reality. The tools provided in the course helped me create a comprehensive business plan, keep detailed financial records, and use e-commerce tools to accept bookings and payments. Because of this course, my farm business was finally able to turn a profit and identify financial strengths and weaknesses in the day to day operations."

“I'm so grateful that this course and the Academy are available, it's extremely valuable. Not only are we gaining a lot of information and resources, but we are also making really helpful connections.”

“One of the most useful things for me is learning with other people. Hearing their stories, visions, questions and perspectives keeps the energy level of the class up and fosters the energy I have for building a business. Being exposed to people on the same path helps to create the momentum I need…The personal touch of interacting with actual people in real time is worlds different than trying to learn ad hoc.”

Cost

Participants can sign up for 1, 2 or all 3 courses. Each course has its own registration page and costs $50.

If you are a veteran or active military, the full registration fee for one or more of these courses can be paid by FarmOps, a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County. Continue to the registration page and complete sign up for courses of your choice.

Registration and Course Information:

  • Creating or Renting a Commercial Kitchen for Your Food Business click here
  • Building an Agritourism Experience on Your Farm click here
  • Planning and Maintaining a High Tunnel or Greenhouse click here

For more information or questions please contact
Local Foods Program Leader
M. Flip Filippi at mpf65@cornell.edu or 315-379-9192 ext. 229

This programming is part of Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County’s Growing Resilience Initiative and is made possible by funding from the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program.

Contact

Maria 'Flip' Filippi
Local Foods Program Leader & Harvest Kitchen Manager
mpf65@cornell.edu
315-379-9192 ext 229

Last updated February 2, 2023