Southern Illinois Farm Beginnings
Southern Illinois Farm Beginnings® (SIFB) serves people of southern Illinois and surrounding states (Missouri, Kentucky). Since 2011, Food Works has administered the program from its base in Carbondale, Illinois. One of the youngest Farm Beginnings® programs, two dozen people have graduated from Southern Illinois Farm Beginnings and a half dozen farming enterprises are underway.
The program begins in October with a series of seminars focusing on business plan development and marketing for sustainable, entrepreneurial farming. The following spring, students are matched with a farmer mentor to further develop their plan and achieve personal learning goals. On-farm field days and one year’s membership in the Southern Illinois Farmer Alliance add real-world dimensions to the program.