On this tour, we will learn about a variety of programs and organizations that are supporting new and beginning production farmers in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region. Although similar programs exist across the country, Pittsburgh is unique in hosting a range of opportunities, bolstered by deep and reciprocal working relationships between them, that support farmers no matter where they are in their learning and farm enterprise development. This means that whether they aspire to build skills in growing their own crops, develop their own small-scale organic urban farm enterprise, or lease farmland in order to produce at scale, local farmers can take a stepladder approach to a career in sustainable agriculture.
Participants will learn how an urban farm set against the backdrop of the last remaining steel mill in the Pittsburgh area is preparing young adults for future work in food and farming through hands-on apprenticeships. We’ll see how a nonprofit, community-centered farm that is set to become the largest urban farm in the U.S. is developing a comprehensive workforce and business development program for new small-scale organic urban farm enterprises. And we’ll hear how other partners are supporting graduates of these programs in acquiring farmland within and outside Pittsburgh in order to stabilize and expand their production agriculture businesses. Together we’ll better understand how these farmer-development pieces fit together in practice—and hopefully get our hands a little dirty in the process.
Host organizations include:
• Braddock Farms, Grow Pittsburgh
• Hilltop Urban Farm
• Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
Other partners include:
• Allegheny County Conservation District
• Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA)
• National Young Farmers Coalition