Local farm owner Allyson Angelini and Cheryl Placido, a part-time farmer and teacher were among twelve women who graduated from Connecticut’s Whole Farm Planning Program for Beginning Women Farmers on May 12, 2012 at the Community Farm of Simsbury. The program, administered by Holistic management International (HMI) and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA), aims to close the knowledge gap between established and new farmers, and equip women to own and holistically manage their own farms.
Angelini is the owner and farmer of Full Heart Farm in Ledyard, CT which raises a variety of vegetables, fruit, herbs, eggs, pork and chicken. She found land and started Full Heart Farm shortly before her graduation from the program. Placido is a teacher at the Waterford Country Day School and also farms part time to produce herbs and herbal products through a joint-owned business Sacred Wheel Herbs.
Ten seminars held from October 2011 through May 2012 taught about the Holistic Whole Farm Planning process. This approach challenges farmers to develop a deep understanding of the environment and to capitalize on agricultural and natural resources without degrading the land. Holistic management also instructs farmers to consider many overlooked aspects of farm operation including their own health and happiness, and their community in planning. Seminars were on the topics of financial and business planning, marketing, land management, soil fertility, grazing and planning, leadership and communication. These lessons were supported with farm tours at Gilbertie’s Herbs in Easton, Cranberry Hill Farm in Ashford, Goode Field Farms in Litchfield and the Community Farm of Simsbury.
Angelini and Placido join over thirty participants from the past three years, many of whom own or manage a farm, own a business that supports sustainable food production or work with a non-profit involved in farming or sustainable food. For more information about beginning farmer programs visit CT NOFA’s homepage ctnofa.org and for information on Whole Farm Planning visit Holistic Management International’s page, holisticmanagement.org. Full Heart Farm is still accepting sign-ups for their community supported agriculture program at the website, fullheartfarm.com.