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Lowcountry Local First Offers Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture for Farmer Apprentices
1/27/2015 3:37:09 PM

Lowcountry Local First is partnering with the College of Charleston Center for Continuing & Professional Education (CCPE) to expand upon Lowcountry Local First’s current Growing New Farmers apprentice program. In 2015, a new non-credit Certificate of Sustainable Agriculture will be offered to the participants of the program. The 5-month program, which provides introductory agricultural production and business education also incorporates hands-on training in the field. Applications are being accepted now through March 13, 2015.

‘Growing New Farmers’ is a Lowcountry Local First program that began in 2010 to train the next generation of farmers in three phases: apprenticeships, farm incubation and links to affordable farmland. “The average age of a South Carolina farmer today is 59-years-old. Creating the next generation of farmers is critical for a healthy local food system,” says Jamee Haley, Executive Director at Lowcountry Local First. The new certificate will strengthen the existing farm apprenticeship experience. "Lowcountry Local First developed the Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture by combining existing courses with a nationally recognized curriculum and adapting the program to fit the needs of local participants. Partnering with the College of Charleston's JobBridge Program allows Lowcountry Local First to offer this course through an accredited institution and to create a resource for individuals interested in local food system work," explains Nikki Seibert Kelley, Director of Sustainable Agriculture at Lowcountry Local First.

With over 100 graduates to date, the Growing New Farmers Apprenticeship is the only ongoing farmer apprentice program in South Carolina. “The Lowcountry Local First apprenticeship program provided me with the fundamental knowledge that I needed to begin farming sustainably,” says Jennifer Wassum, an apprentice graduate who went on to farm at Rebellion Farms in Ravenel, SC. “Participating in the apprenticeship program put me at the center of a wonderful community of knowledge, ingenuity and support.”

Applications for the Growing New Farmers Apprenticeship and Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture are being accepted now through March 13, 2015. The program will begin in May 2015 and conclude in November 2015. Participants will receive a minimum of 350 training hours (35 Continuing Education Units) and receive a non-credit Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture from the College of Charleston CCPE through their JobBridge program. The program cost is $2,000 with scholarships and payment plans available.


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