UMaine Extension offers farmer and gardener boot camp for veterans, disabled farmers

University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer training in small-scale farming for market sales to military veterans and family members and farmers with disabilities starting in January.  

Boots-2-Bushels: Boot Camp for Market Gardeners and Farmers” features semimonthly online classes that will be held through May 24 via Zoom and weekly, hands-on fieldwork from May–September at the Kennebec Valley Community College Harold Alfond Campus, 677 Skowhegan Road, Clinton. The first online class will be held from noon–4 p.m. Jan. 11. 

Training topics will include soil health and crop planning, seedling, vegetable and small fruit production; harvest and storage, safe food handling, marketing and farm business planning, integrated pest management, and tool and equipment maintenance and safety. Experts from UMaine Extension and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association will serve as instructors. 

The $50 per person fee includes textbooks and supplies. Registration is required and can be done on the event webpage. Space is limited, and preference will be given to veterans and family members and farmers with disabilities. Participants who attend 85% of classes and field work will earn a certificate of completion and letter of recommendation. Participants may harvest weekly shares of produce grown. 

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Anne Devin, 207.991.2651; More information is also available on the program website. This program is made possible through the support of UMaine Extension, Maine AgrAbility, MOFGA and Farm Credit East.