Expanding the Boundaries of Beginning Farmer Training and Program Development: A Review of Contemporary Initiatives To Cultivate a New Generation of American Farmers
AbstractBeginning farmer training and program development in United States is one of the most significant yet poorly understood areas of agriculture, food system, and community development research and practice. This article offers a review of the social context in forming recent beginning farmer educational programming in order to shed light on its development, purpose, and future trajectory. We provide several illustrations of best practices to support our main point that adult agricultural education for beginning farmers is taking on new forms and patterns to support and sustain a new generation of famers. As such it is vitalizing new opportunities to generate and exchange information and knowledge for sustainable agriculture. While these examples appear promising, the article concludes with recommendations for researchers and practitioners to expand the boundaries of what constitutes meaningful education for beginning farmers who are interested in sustainable food system models and practices.
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