Welcome to the new Fauquier Education Farm Blog. Here in the last days of a very successful 2016 growing season we are excited about the upcoming year and are introducing some changes to our little non-profit organization, changes we feel are a sure sign of our strength and growth, and changes that are a sure signal of our strong community support.
For 2017 we created a new website. Same address, fauquiereducationfarm.org but we hope to be able to keep it much more up to date and useful for anyone trying to learn about who we are, what we do and how they can support our efforts. This Farm Blog is part of the new webpage and we will be posting regularly in order to stay in touch with our most important partners in everything we do, our community.
The Education Farm Board of Directors has been working quite hard behind the scenes to strengthen the organization, secure funding, and map out a pathway to many years of successfully serving our region through our educational programs and our contributions of fresh produce to local food banks. We have been working very closely with the PATH Resource Center to implement management best practices for non-profits to insure that we remain accountable to the community that we serve. As a non-profit we rely on that community to help keep us funded and provide the majority of our farm work force. As an organization the Fauquier Education Farm accepts that this support also comes with a responsibility to remain transparent and accountable for how these funds are used, and to show what effect your support is having in our community. We will be releasing our first Annual Report by the end of Jan. 2017 as part of this effort.
Our educational programs have been scheduled and will kick off on Jan. 29th with our first workshop, It’s Time to Start Planning, and will be quickly followed by the first class of the Northern Piedmont Beginning Farmer Program. We have also been funded through a mini-grant proposal with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition to once again offer our popular Intro to Getting Your Hands Dirty course. More details are posted on our website in the Agriculture Education section.
As always, one of the best ways to learn at the Education Farm remains our volunteer opportunities for individuals, families, groups and schools to come to the farm and contribute their time and labor in our gardens. Our volunteer workforce is very strong because of our wide community support. People genuinely enjoy themselves and with so many volunteers no one has to carry to much of the workload. Our Board of Directors has placed a highest priority on enhancing that volunteer experience to ensure that all of our volunteers feel valued and supported.
We can face this new year, our new growing and teaching season, with a great deal of hope and excitement because of the strength of our community support. Our support comes from our local government through strong support of the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors, the Agriculture Development Office, the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office, the John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District, to state and federal agencies like the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. We also actively partner with the local non-profit community such as our excellent partners the PATH Foundation, the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation, The Piedmont Environmental Council, Citizens for Fauquier County and the Island Sunrise Foundation. Local businesses have stepped up to show their support like, Moriah Farm, County Chevrolet, The Woodward Group, iDesign, Red Truck Bakery, MooThru Ice Cream, and the Grapevine.
However, our strongest and most vital support remains the countless individuals who have become invested in the Education Farm’s success through donating their time, labor and financial contributions to keep us growing and able to serve. It is extraordinary to have people driving for hours to volunteer, to show up and fully participate in our educational programs, and to answer our fundraising appeals with their support. We promise to never forget that this is a community partnership and with that support comes very real responsibility. We look forward to seeing it grow and strengthen.