Seeking to Contract an Urban Farmer Trainer

soil on shovelUConn Extension is actively seeking to contract with an expert to coordinate and lead learning events over 3 years (2021-2024) for urban farmers in Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven. By deepening skills through knowledge sharing and immersive day-long events, our vision is to build a network of urban farmers and urban agriculture service providers within and between
Connecticut’s urban centers.

This is an exciting opportunity for the right person who is passionate about the interconnected issues of food, health, land, equity, and justice, dependable, enjoys connecting and working with people with diverse backgrounds, and demonstrates an array of skills and knowledge related to both urban farming and event organization.

This is a grant-funded opportunity. UConn will contract an individual/entity for urban farming training services for one year, with opportunity for renewal in 2022 and 2023 based on performance.

With funding from USDA, UConn Extension coordinates Solid Ground Trainings for new and beginning farmers across Connecticut. As an element of Solid Ground programming, UConn Extension aims to address the need for tailored and specific urban farming training.

Urban Farming Trainings: The project will deliver two full day learning events in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven, for a total of 6 learning events per year. Learning events will be implemented in partnership with community-based organizations (including Green Village Initiative, Park City Harvest, and Keney Park Sustainability Project).

Each learning event will center farming systems in urban settings, which may include soil-based systems under natural light, as well as soil-less growing systems that are climate controlled. Skills training may include topics such as community organizing and outreach, marketing, food justice, and how to access more land for growing.

Intended Audience: We aim to reach anyone with 10 years or less of farming experience, including aspiring farmers in urban areas of Connecticut.

Timeline: Planning for these learning events will be conducted via Zoom with community-based partners in early spring, and implemented in-person between April and October. The exact timing of each learning event will depend on the preferences of community-based partners. The planning and implementation of learning events will be supported by UConn Extension educators, per availability and where needed.

Project Director – Jiff Martin, UConn Extension Educator in Sustainable Food Systems.

● Lead 2 planning meetings with all partners from all 3 cities, in order to cross-pollinate ideas. Each planning meeting will focus on identifying training topics that community- based partners have identified are needed by urban farmers in their network/programming. Jiff Martin and Shuresh Ghimire (UConn Extension Commercial Vegetable Crops Educator) will participate in planning meetings.
● Develop a plan for delivering 6 all-day trainings (2 each in Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven). Community-based partners are responsible for venue and the trainer is responsible for teaching. Each training may be unique, although we envision substantial
similarity between the three communities and learning priorities.
● Create curriculum materials as needed to support learning events and participants
● Implement 6 all-day trainings, includes a day-long schedule of learning, networking, ensuring materials are procured and available for participants, incorporating networking time into the day, scheduling guest trainers if needed/possible (community partners will be willing to assist if needed and Extension educators may also be available if needed, there is no funding for guest trainers)
● Support the communication and evaluation needs of UConn Extension in supporting this project. This responsibility is likely to include:
o Assist and provide input on graphic content for program materials
o Assist and provide input on outreach strategies to ensure broad access
o Ensure program materials are consistent and clear, and available online as appropriate
o Assist with evaluation of the trainings, in accordance with requirements of USDA

To Submit – Send a proposal detailing experience, approach, and fees by February 26th to

People of color, women, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and members of traditionally underrepresented populations are strongly encouraged to submit proposals.