The Small Farm Outreach Program at Virginia State University recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with the George Washington Carver Agriculture Research Center in Culpeper County to create an incubator farm and demonstration site.
The incubator farm and demonstration site comprises 2 acres of land and one hoop house to grow an assortment of vegetable crops. Workshops, meetings and training sessions for farmers will be held on-site at the research center. The outreach program will provide fertilizer, seeds, hand and power gardening tools, personnel to provide training and technical assistance and financial assistance.
“Working together with the George Washington Carver Agricultural Research Center is an excellent opportunity for VSU’s Small Farm Outreach Program to offer a broad range of educational workshops, hands-on trainings and field demonstrations to the Culpeper area,” said outreach program director William Crutchfield. “At this newly established incubator farm, visitors can learn firsthand about agricultural management practices they can use or adapt for their own farm enterprises.”
“The agreement supports our shared agriculture education programs for small and new farmers,” senior extension agent Carl C. Stafford said. “GWCARC seeks to develop new knowledge and opportunities for agriculture in this region through partnerships with institutions of higher education, cooperating producers and local government.”
“We’re excited to begin working with farmers from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels,” outreach program Hispanic outreach agent Leonel Castillo said. “As we build connections with the local farming community, we’ll be able to deliver information, education and training on farm operations such irrigation, fertilization, crop selection and rotation, soil management, equipment use and maintenance and more.”
The agreement was made possible thanks to the USDA Beginning Farmer, Rancher and Veteran grant that the outreach program received to assist individuals with limited resources who are interested in starting a small farming operation.
The research center is housed in The Carver Center at 9432 James Madison Hwy., Rapidan. The Carver Center is home of the former George Washington Carver Regional High School, which was built in 1948 and served as the regional high school for black students. The research center is organized and operated for charitable research and education benefits in agriculture.