The Virtual Grange & Growing Farmers Initiative
Welcome to the Virtual Grange, an online community and hub for beginning farmers, managed by Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.
Inside the Grange, you’ll be joined by hundreds of other beginning farmers from across the country who are busy preparing for the season ahead. Participate in forums. Watch technical tutorials. Read the latest agricultural news. Find out about upcoming conferences, workshops, and apprenticeship opportunities in your region. Seek advice from experienced farmers and share your story. Step inside the Virtual Grange and join the conversation.
Growing Farmers Initiative
As our food system has shifted away from family farms, the face of farming in the United States has also changed. Since the 1940s, the percentage of American farmers over the age of 55 has grown from 37 percent to over 60 percent. The average U.S. farmer is now 57 years old, and farmers over the age of 55 own more than half the farmland in the U.S.
Stone Barns wants to stop the loss of farmers, farmland and rural economies. Our way of contributing is through the Growing Farmers Initiative (GFI), an ongoing effort by Stone Barns to increase the number of sustainable small and mid-size farms, especially in the Northeast. Through the GFI, we seek to remove the barriers that stand in the way of beginning farmers’ success, whether those comprise of access to land, prohibitive capital costs, or marketing and distribution challenges.
Our intensive Apprenticeship Program, workshops, Technical Consultancy Program, National Young Farmers Conference, and the Virtual Grange (virtualgrange.org) are designed to equip the next generation of farmers with the knowledge and hands-on experience to create economically viable and ecologically resilient farm-business enterprises.