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Tools & Resources from NESFI

In 1999 NESFI developed the DACUM (Design a Curriculum) Occupational Profile for Northeast Small Scale Sustainable Farmer.  A group of experienced small-scale Northeast farmers detailed the duties and tasks performed by diversified, sustainable farmers in the region, along with the skills, knowledge, and personal characteristics such farmers need to possess.  A larger group of farmers then verified the findings.  The DACUM profile has served as a touchstone for curricula and assessment tools NESFI has since created to address the educational gaps the profile identified.  Business skills and education were the number one priority cited by the farmers surveyed, so most of NESFI's farmer education tools respond to that need.  The DACUM profile itself is a useful tool for service providers to help beginning farmers assess their own educational needs.   Service providers can be assured that all NESFI tools have been farmer reviewed and tested with the intended audience.

Any NESFI publication can be ordered through the Bookstore.

DACUM Farmer Occupational Profile

Systematic profile of duties and tasks performed by small scale, diversified, sustainable Northeast farmers.  For use in curriculum development and competency assessment. 

Exploring the Small Farm Dream: Is Starting an Agricultural Business Right for You?

Workbook designed to help aspiring farmers decide whether or not to farm commercially.  For use in a course setting, independent study or guided self-study.

Exploring the Small Farm Dream Course Delivery Guide

Guide to help Explorer course sponsors and instructors plan and deliver a four-session course using the Exploring the Small Farm Dream workbook.

Small Farm Planner: Building Your New Farm Business Around What's Most Important to You

A sequel to Exploring the Small Farm Dream, Planner is designed for those who have made a firm decision to farm commercially but are not yet ready to write a full business plan.  For use in self-study or guided self-study.

DACUM Farmer-Mentor Occupational Profile

Systematic listing of duties and tasks performed by experienced farmers who offer on-farm mentoring or training programs for aspiring or early-stage farmers.  Useful for on-farm mentors and for training and supporting on-farm mentors.

Cultivating a New Crop of Farmers: Is On-farm Mentoring Right for You & Your Farm?

This guide is intended for two audiences: established farmers who want to add a training program to their operations, and prospective farmers who are at the planning stage and want to include mentoring in their whole farm plan.  The workbook is designed to help farmers assess whether or not to host full-season trainees. 

The On-Farm Mentor's Guide: Practical Approaches to Teaching on the Farm

This guide covers a wide range of on-farm teaching and training situations.  Contents include recommendations for designing a program and the housing, recruiting, hiring, and orienting of trainees.  The intended audience is on-farm mentors at all stages of development and experience.

Holding Ground: A Guide to Northeast Farmland Tenure and Stewardship

This publication addresses farmland access, transfer, affordability and stewardship.  It is a comprehensive guide to secure and equitable land tenure, particularly on ways to get onto farmland besides outright purchase.  Also available from the Intervale Foundation.