The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

Beginning Farmer Mentoring Program

The NOFA/Mass Beginning Farmer Mentoring Program pairs seasoned growers with people who have some farming experience but aren't yet running their own farms. It is a 12-month commitment between mentor and mentee, supported by NOFA/Mass.

Ideally, the mentor and mentee will live within the same region. This will make on-farm visits easier and should give the mentor and mentee some common farming experiences and perspectives. Geographic proximity is not mandatory, though. If program participants find a great match far afield, NOFA/Mass will support that mentorship connection. The most important part of the mentor-mentee relationship is a strong mutual rapport.

Information for Potential Mentees 

The NOFA/Mass Beginning Farmer Mentoring Program aims to help fill the education gap between apprentice and independent farmer. By pairing mentees with experienced growers who are not their employers, the program enables aspiring farmers to gain farming experiences, skills, and perspectives that they otherwise wouldn't get in their day-to-day work.


In 2015 NOFA/Mass will offer mentees:

  • Mentorship: As a NOFA/Mass mentee you will have the opportunity to work with an experienced farmer who will serve as a mentor. NOFA/Mass will pay that person for his or her role in your education. Mentor-mentee arrangements will vary from one relationship to another and are up to both participants to negotiate and maintain on a case-by-case basis. If you are selected as a mentee, NOFA/Mass will work with you to connect with a farmer who would be a good fit for you, given your interests, experience level and location, among other factors.
  • An educational stipend: As a NOFA/Mass mentee you will be able to use $100 worth of educational vouchers to attend any NOFA/Mass workshop or conference during the 12-month program.


NOFA/Mass expects all mentees who go through the mentorship program to:

  • Articulate to NOFA/Mass what you are interested in learning through a relationship with a farming mentor.
  • Check in at least monthly with the mentor, by email, phone, or in person, and visit the mentor's farm at least once during the 12-month program.
  • Complete quarterly evaluations, using a template provided by NOFA/Mass, describing what you learned as a result of working with the mentor and attending NOFA/Mass educational events, and what you hope to continue to learn.  
  • Be a member of NOFA/Mass in good standing. To become a NOFA/Mass member and see all the benefits that membership offers, click here


This is not an employment program. Mentees are expected to work on a farm as an apprentice or staff member during the 2013 season. The successful mentee will be committed to broadening his or her agricultural education and learning from a seasoned farmer.


We have not begun the application process for 2016.  If you are interested in participating in the mentorship program, or have other questions, please contact Brittany Overshiner, NOFA/Mass Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator, at

Note: Acceptance into the NOFA/Mass Beginning Farmer Mentoring Program does not guarantee a mentoring relationship. NOFA/Mass will recommend approved mentors to the successful mentee applicant and work with the mentee to establish a mentoring relationship. It will then be up to the mentee and the potential mentor to formally establish a relationship that works for both parties.

Information for Potential Mentors

The decision to become a mentor should be made carefully with the understanding that as a mentor you will be expected to share some of your time and knowledge with a developing farmer. Our hope is that the process and relationship will prove rewarding for both the mentee and the mentor.


NOFA/Mass expects mentors to:

  • Make a 12-month commitment to be a mentor.
  • Give approximately 15 hours over the course of the 12-month program to the mentee with whom they are paired. (More contact is encouraged, if appropriate.)
  • Share advice, technical assistance, wisdom, philosophies and sympathy with diligence and honesty, to the best of the mentor's ability, via phone, email and face-to-face meetings.
  • Host the mentee at your farm at least once during the course of the program.
  • Provide a final report and evaluation of the mentee and his or her experience with the program at the end of your time as mentor, using a template provided by NOFA/Mass.
  • Be a member of NOFA/Mass in good standing. To become a NOFA/Mass member and see all the benefits that membership offers, click here


In recognition of the important service that the mentor provides, NOFA/Mass agrees to provide each mentor an honorarium of $200. In coordination with other NOFA chapters, NOFA/Mass will also invite mentors to an annual get-together with other mentors from around the region. This will be an opportunity for veteran farmers who are committed to educating the next generation of growers to meet and share knowledge, experiences, and support.


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