FarmTrain aims to create a European learning hub of agroecological farming practices. The main aim of this project is to create an innovative hands-on and long term (at least three months) training program for adult learners and farmers who provide mentoring and educational opportunities directly on the farm. The project is therefore a great investment in people's knowledge both in rural and urban areas. On the other hand it supports the transfer of knowledge from farmers to adult learners who may not have any previous experience with agroecological farming systems. The project facilitates communication between the farmer-mentors and potential trainees as it is targeted at the educational, organisational, and communication skills of all participants. Consequently it should increase farmers’ self-confidence and willingness to start farm projects and continue training future farmers.
The potential apprenticeship is neither a voluntary work, working holidays, nor ad-hoc farm help. The project aims to create apprenticeships that are focused on the exchange of information and experiences among mentoring farmers and the apprentices.
The project will facilitate the training experience on the farms by means of these tools
A short guide for farmers and agroecology students on how to organise their shared training experiences in the context of the farm.
Teaching modules shaped according to the needs of mentor-farmers with a set of practical worksheets for trainees on how to collect practical information from their time on the training farm.
All materials will be translated into the languages of the project partners, but also into Arabic, because FarmTrain aims to also address refugees and migrants who might be interested in agroecological farming.
We are four European partners from the civil society with vast experience in non-formal adult education in the field of agroecology and food sovereignty.
The main objective of this project is to create an innovative hands-on training program for adult learners and farmers (FARMTrain) in order to accept shared responsibility to keep our rural-urban areas connected and alive in a sustainable way. The project aims on adult learners who are interested to learn about farming in a broader sense in real-time environments. FARMTrain will be open to anyone regardless of their different backgrounds and education, with a special attention to refugees in some regions who can benefit from this project by becoming involved in local communities and finding a way to employ themselves in a new environment.
The adult learners can involve not only people who want to start or change their career in farming but also others, such as urban, community or market gardeners, landscape planners, environmentalists, ecologists, policy makers or people from professions odd to farming or land management. The hands-on training provides mentoring and educational opportunities between farmers and adult learners directly on training farms. The range of composition of production enterprises as well as geographical distribution play important roles in developing proper training and educational capacities - these programs must be adequate for adult learners delivering practical, useful, hands on knowledge. It is emphasised here because most of the training or advisory services in European countries are very theoretical; there is often a “reality gap” between trainers and learners. The different, innovative approach in FARMTrain program is the joint handbook for farmers and adult learners with practical guidance (webinars) on how to build the internship on farms and how to transfer farmer’s knowledge to adult learners. The novelty of this training program lies in its content - it teaches farmers how to gain competences to become mentors - to improve their soft skills in interaction with adult learners and vice versa adults learn to be motivated to have shared responsibility for agroecological systems and environmental protection in general. The innovation of the project lies also in its scope as it does not focus solely on professionals but it also involves exchange of knowledge between professionals and other stakeholders such as hobby farmers, community or urban gardeners.
The structure of the innovative hands-on training program for adult learners and farmers (FARMTrain) is based on a European universal handbook which will be created within the project. The national modifications of FARMTrain handbook will allow adjusting the program to the exact needs of the target groups both in partner countries and also in countries not involved in this partnership. It provides the knowledge and skills on how to establish a new way of cooperation with different types of stakeholders, how to transfer the skills from farmers to learners on training farms, on hands-on learning and on training seminars to create more opportunities to learn shared responsibilities. Altogether, the project will support the educational innovation in farming sector and beyond, as it will teach farmers to become well-educated mentors with competences in the exchange of good practices. It is aimed at producing, sharing and enriching resources (both general and technical) about farming skills and environmental protection within the agro-ecosystem towards various groups of stakeholders.
We also anticipate that the national FARMTrain modules/webinars will launch up the increase in number of training farms not only in countries of this partnership but Europe-wide. This added value will not only support the development of other training farms and their networking on FARMTrain platform. FARMTrain modules can be a useful aid in long-life adult education and training, as well as an inspiration in setting up new cooperatives and creative farmer associations. The network of training farms with an innovative, hands-on program (FARMTrain) can be very resilient as it has developed from a serious need and with strong participation of farmers in the development process. We want the FARMTrain program to be socially inclusive and enabling for a broad scale of adult learners to join the program in the future.