L.E.A.F. Program Focuses On Farming, Homesteading

Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management extension educator, is pictured with baby chicks. One of the Learn. Empower. Achieve. Farm. workshops includes a series on raising backyard chickens. Submitted photo

Budding farmers and modern homesteaders have an outlet for learning and support thanks to Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The Learn. Empower. Achieve. Farm. program, which is in its third year, is offering those interested in farming, homesteading and other similar activities a series of workshops and a supportive online community. Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management extension educator, said the program is a way for Cornell Cooperative Extension to connect with those interested in farming activities who are not large farmowners.

Walley-Stoll began the program three years ago and created the curriculum herself. This is a locally grown and operated program, much like the workshop content it offers.

Walley-Stoll said this year alone, they have had 300 participants in the workshops. There are still 12 more workshops left in the year.

The workshops center around different activities such as gardening, raising chickens, farm administration and other areas. Walley-Stoll said the idea is to offer classes that will pique the interest of the community and important learning opportunities. The workshops generally host 10-40 people.

The workshops, however, are only part of the program. There are other opportunities for community building and support with likeminded individuals, such as a private Facebook group for networking and support.

“It’s alot about building a community of learners,” she said.

Walley-Stoll said the program is important because it brings people together in a face-to-face manner and enables them to learn. The program is funded by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and the taxpayers of Chautauqua County.

“It is something that is accessible,” Walley-Stoll said. “There really isn’t any other source of information for farming or homesteading in the area.”

The workshops are family friendly, and the program attempts to keep the costs low. Most workshops cost $5-$10. Workshops are held at the Frank W. Bratt Agricultural Center at 3542 Turner Road in Jamestown.

The next workshop scheduled is Essential Oils and Your Garden on Monday from 6-8 p.m. For more information on upcoming programs or to register for a workshop, visit www.chautauqua.cce.cornell.edu/Chautauqua or call 664-9502 ext. 202.