Farmer Training

Today there are many workshops available through Community Colleges, Universities, Cooperative Extension, and Organizations across the region.   Here are links to our favorite organizations who do workshops in the Southeast US:  


Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Debbie Roos' Growing Small Farms Website

Center For Environmental Farming Systems

CCCC Sustainable Farming Program

Organic Growers School

Georgia Organics

Virginia Association of Biological Farmers 

North Carolina has been a leader in the development of local and organic food systems in the Southeastern U.S. , and Tony Kleese feels privileged to have been  involved in many of the innovative projects along the way.  Much of his  efforts have involved developing training for farmers on the topics of organic standards, practices, and certification, crop planning and farm budgeting.

Earthwise Organics  farmer trainings have evolved into three areas of focus: 

III. Curriculum Development and Implementation - Tony's first experiences  with curriculum development revolved around developing the Sustainable Farming Program at Central Carolina Community College while he was coordinator from 1997 to 2000.  It was the first program in the U.S. at the community college level, and he worked with a broad diversity of stakeholders to build a strong curriculum from scratch.  For the past six years, he has been working with NC REAL, Small Business Assistance Centers at community colleges, and cooperative extension offices  across NC to offer courses in organic farming and farm business development. He's  taught classes at Martin , Edgecombe, Wayne , Southeastern , Richmond , Cape Fear, and James Sprunt Community Colleges.  In 2012/2013 he developed and taught a curriculum in Floyd, VA for SustainFloyd.  He can create a curriculum that specifically meets your students' needs.

Contact us to be notified of similar classes being offered.

Earthwise Organics
"Tony is by far the most knowledgeable expert on sustainable farming in North Carolina and probably the whole southeastern US region! When I sponsor a workshop with Tony as the speaker, I have no problem filling the seats because my clients have learned that Tony will provide them with valuable, practical knowledge which will help them maximize their profits in sustainable farming.  
Tony always far exceeds our expectations by not just lecturing, but bringing examples related to his topic such as tools, tillers, soil sample containers, books, etc.  Tony is genuinely interested in the success of his clients, and will provide them with the best resources available to solve their problems, or improve their techniques resulting in maximizing their profits."

-Lynn Davis, James Sprunt Community College, Director Small Business Center

"Tony gave practical advice and realistic expectations during our workshop. His experience shows. It has been helpful to bounce ideas off of someone who is knowledgable before taking the leap and investing time, energy, and money. We still have pages of notes that we revisit from time to time."

-Michael Merletto

"Are You Ready to Farm" Workshop Attendee,  Spring 2014

I.  Focusing Beginning Farmers - Attempting to start a farm is a daunting task.  There are too many decisions and often a lack of a good structure for making them.  For the past 7 years,  Tony has  been offering a workshop at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association conference to help people focus their pathway to farming, and it has always been well attended.  The concept has now evolved into a full-day workshop geared towards new farmers-  "Are You Ready To Farm?"  Students are guided through a process that helps them evaluate their readiness, resources, market conditions, and finances to help them get clear about their goals and pathway to farming.

The next Are You Ready to Farm  workshop is scheduled for Novemner 6th at the CFSA conference in Durham, NC

 II. Crop Planning and Farm Budget Tools - This is the area that most new and existing farmers struggle with,  mainly because nobody chooses to start farming in order to sit in front of a computer. Developing a farm plan can be daunting. The core problem is the lack of an easy to use and accessible tool.  Starting with developing crop plans for growers as the production coordinator for Eastern Carolina Organics in 2007 and continuing with various budget development projects, Tony has put together a  crop planning and farm budget template and a 9 hour class series that explains and customizes the template for each student.  This class series requires a computer lab or students with laptops and access to Microsoft Excel®.

The next Crop Planning and Farm Budget Tools workshop will be held at CCCC in Pittsboro starting November 3, 2015.  More details coming soon.