Legacy Farms and The New Ag School are partnering to cultivate a large farm space at Fabbioli Cellars near Leesburg. The shared gardens will be a starting point for further development of mentor/apprentice programs, organizers said.
The first initiative of the partnership is underway with the planting a larger space than the organizations have grown in past years. The nonprofits plan to donate the produce and herbs to area businesses and food banks during the COVID-19 crisis.
The organizations share the mission of providing agricultural and entrepreneurial training, while also expanding community connections. They provide opportunities for individuals who value experiential learning, entrepreneurship, and mentorship.
The New Ag School seeks to develop a workforce that can meet the needs of the shared economy of Loudoun County, specifically, agribusiness education in the areas of farming, value-added process and hospitality. New Ag is dedicated to training individuals to be equipped, skilled and passionate about working the land and relating with consumers as a career.
Legacy Farms focuses on apprenticeship-style learning and job opportunities for neurodiverse individuals preparing for college, learning a trade, or seeking internships to further their education. Apprenticeships range from work in the garden to sales and distributor relationship development to organizational projects such as social media videography and design.
“The challenges we’re facing right now as a community are also an opportunity to reconnect with the essentials: caring for one another, inclusiveness, nourishing food, right relationship with nature, localization of resources and purchasing,” said Laurie Young, Executive Director for Legacy Farms. “By sharing space and working in tandem with New Ag, we strengthen both organizations. The partnership is a natural evolution. It puts us in a good position to increase program depth and expand neurodiversity awareness, while also giving us the capacity for more distribution of local produce in the Loudoun community.”
The New Ag School is based atFabbioli Cellars.
“Agriculture is a wide and grounding subject. As Legacy Farms and The New Ag School take advantage of our crossover programs, we will make a greater difference for our businesses and community by developing folks with self awareness, agriculture workforce skills as well as people skills to lead the next generation,” said New Ag founder Doug Fabbioli, “ We are all excited about what is to come from this partnership.”
The shared gardens are being planted by small teams of rotating volunteers in compliance with Covid-19 regulations in preparation for a safe expansion of mentor/apprentice programming as soon as feasible this summer. The organizations expect initial distribution of produce to begin in mid-June.