Due to insufficient registration,
the January course is postponed.
Please watch for future announcements of
Explorer course dates,
estimated for autumn of 2013.
Manitoba Farm Mentorship (MFM) previously offered this course yearly in Winnipeg. As part of the transition of MFM farmer training activities to the Harvest Moon Society, MFM has worked closely with HMS and continues to support the coordination of the first Harvest Moon Society Exploring Your Small Farm Dream course.
The 2013 course will be structured as a weekend intensive and will include informal evening activities such as themed discussions and a farm tour.
For general Explorer course details, testimonials, etc., visit the main Explorer page.
The fees for this year’s course are $375 for individuals or $670 for couples or partners sharing the same farm dream. The fee includes accommodations and meals at the Harvest Moon Learning Centre in Clearwater or with local families for the duration of the course. Registration can be paid online or by cheque, in full or in partial payments, with the final amount payable on arrival in Clearwater. Please review our registration, cancellation, and refund policies for more details.
Our course instructor is Clint Cavers, co-owner/operator of Harborside Farms near Pilot Mound, and member of the Harvest Moon Local Food Initiative and the Harvest Moon Society. Clint, his wife Pamela, and their three daughters operate a 200-acre livestock farm and direct-marketing business. In 1997, Clint and his family started thinking about making the transition from being debt-ridden conventional farmers to a diversified, small-scale operation and today they run a successful sustainable farm. Clint is very committed to the principles of small, sustainable farming, and the education and outreach required to help new farmers find their way.
The Cavers family draws on many sources of knowledge, incorporating holistic management, as well as organic and biodynamic farming principles to their farm. They sell grass-fed beef, pastured pork, pastured poultry, and eggs. At their on-farm store, they process and market traditional cuts and deli meat, sausages, hot dogs, beef jerky, (all nitrate-free, using their own original recipes) as well as doggy treats produced by two of Clint’s daughters.
Accommodations and Meals
Accommodations are for Friday and Saturday night with a choice of dorm-style or billets with local families. The HMS centre has four dorm rooms, each shared between two-three people with men’s and women’s bathrooms and showers in the centre. There are also kitchen facilities in the centre. Private and shared rooms are also available with local families in Clearwater and nearby communities.
Meals (Friday evening hearty snack; Saturday three meals plus snacks, Sunday breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack) will be prepared with local, sustainable/organic produce when possible and will always include a vegetarian option. If you have other dietary restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate.
For more information, please contact Greg deJong at 204-873-2331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Session 1: Assess Yourself
In this session, you will examine your motivations for wanting to start your own agricultural business, and assess your personal strengths and weaknesses as a small business owner-operator. You will identify personal values and goals that will drive your business decisions, including quality of life, environmental stewardship, and financial considerations, and also consider the time and financial commitment needed to launch your farm dream.
Session 2: Research the Landscape
In this session, you will concentrate on research to provide preliminary answers to questions that will help shape your agricultural venture, such as:
- What does it take to start and operate a small farm?
- What is the economic landscape in which I will be operating?
- What products and/or services should I consider?
- Who are likely to be my customers?
- What are my options for reaching customers?
- What potential revenues can I expect from my farm operation?
A panel of new and experienced farmers will be present to answer questions and provide resources during this session.
Session 3: Assess Your Resources
In the first two sessions, you considered some intangible resources (knowledge/skills and access to markets). In this session you will look at tangible resources – cash savings, land, tools, and equipment. Of the physical resources that you do not yet own or have access to, some may be essential for business start-up. Others may be less critical and possible to defer. Take stock of the resources you already have, those you need to acquire, and when you will need to acquire them, to help you plan investments in your farm business wisely.
Session 4: Make a Decision & Plan Next Steps
At the beginning of the course you were asked to describe your farm dream. In this session you will review your research, make a decision, and plan next steps. You will have the opportunity to ask additional questions and gather more resources to assist you to implement your action plan in the future.
We require a minimum of 8 participants to run the Explorer course. Space is limited: a maximum of 12 farm dreams will be accepted. The online registration form must be completed in full and payment (full or first instalment) must be submitted before your registration is considered complete and your space held. Register early to avoid disappointment!
The registration form includes questions that help the Explorer course instructor tailor the course to participants’ needs and interests, as well as questions to determine your preferences for meals and accommodations. Completing all areas of the form will allow for timely processing of your registration.
Worksheets. Registrants will be sent four worksheets to be completed prior to the start of the course. Time will be provided during the course to complete other worksheets. It is beneficial to schedule time after the course for additional research. What you get from this course will be determined by the time and energy you put into it and the worksheets, so plan accordingly.
Workbooks. If you are registering as a couple/partnership, you will receive one workbook included in the registration. Additional workbooks are available for $25 each.
Welcome Package. When you reserve your space, you will receive a Welcome Package with additional information and contact details. Welcome Packages are sent via email unless another method is preferred. Please specify your preferred method on the registration form. If you do not receive your Welcome Package within 2-7 days, please contact Coordinator Greg deJong at 204-873-2331 or email email@example.com to request it.
Storm Dates. Because this course takes place in the winter and will involve travel for many participants, we have arranged back-up storm dates. In case of inclement weather on the weekend of January 25th-27th 2013, the class will be rescheduled to February 8th-10th 2013. Storm cancellations will be determined by noon on Friday January 25th. If it is not safe for travel, the course will be postponed. The decision will be communicated via email and/or phone, so please be sure to check your email or voicemail before you depart for Clearwater, or call the Coordinator’s number provided in your Welcome Package.
If you are not able to attend both the planned course dates and the storm dates, meaning in one or the other case you would not be able to attend, please ensure you are comfortable with our cancellation/refund policy below. If you are not comfortable with the policy as described, please consider taking this course in the future.
Accommodations. Limited numbers of dorm rooms in the Harvest Moon Learning Centre and billets with local families are available. There are four dorm rooms, three with two beds and one with three beds. Men’s and women’s separate washrooms and showers are available in the Harvest Moon Learning Centre. Private and shared rooms with local families are available. Please state your preference on the registration form. Every attempt will be made to accommodate participants’ preferences; however, space will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Whenever possible, participants will be notified of their accommodations in advance of the course.
Meals and snacks will be served throughout the course. Vegetarian options will be made available. Please be sure to let us know on the registration form if you have food allergies or sensitivities, or other dietary requirements. We will do our best to meet everyone’s dietary requirements and if a particular dietary need cannot be filled, we will contact you in advance of the course to let you know.
Course fees can be paid online or by cheque, in full or in instalments: Full fees are $375 individual or $670 couples/partners.
Please make cheques out to “Harvest Moon Society,” with “Explorer Course” in the memo area.
Instalments are due:
- On registration to reserve your space: $125 individuals / $225 couples or partners
- By January 4th, 2013: additional $125 individuals / additional $225 couples or partners
- On January 25th, 2013: remaining $125 individuals / remaining $220 couples or partners
Reminder: your space is not reserved until we receive your full payment or first instalment.
- Cancellations up to and including January 4th, 2013 (3 weeks before the course starts): full refund, less $25 admin fee
- Cancellations between Jan. 5th -11th, 2013 (2 weeks before the course starts): 75% refund
- Cancellations between Jan. 12th – 18th, 2013 (1 week before the course starts): 50% refund
- Cancellations within the last week leading up to the course: no refund
11:59pm on the date listed is the cut-off time for all the above dates. There is a waiting list for this course, so if you have to withdraw, please try to do so as soon as you can so that your spot can be given to someone else. Thank you!
Any questions? Contact Greg deJong at 204-873-2331 or firstname.lastname@example.org