Following advice from an experienced farmer can be one of the most effective ways to improve a farm. GreenStone’s Farm Forward Mentorship allows experienced farmers to pass on their knowledge to the next generation. Through this program, young, beginning and small farmers partner with well-informed mentors, generating an opportunity to share knowlege and advice.
Mentor Kevin Winkel had a positive involvement in the Farm Forward Mentorship program from 2018-2020. He is a high-density apple grower and was paired up with mentee Aaron Roth. Kevin states, “I would advise anyone to give this program a try,” listing five distinct reasons why a practiced farmer should be open to this rewarding opportunity.
1. Your knowledge can be very valuable to a beginner. Kevin elaborates, saying “It is not easy to get started in farming. As you get older, you forget how much you actually know about the industry.” Sharing your experience can help a beginner farmer be on the right track to success and avoid common mistakes.
2. It is likely that this involvement will result in a friendship. Kevin and Aaron became very close through their involvement in Farm Forward Mentorship. “I had the opportunity to meet and work with the entire family,” recalls Kevin. “I met and worked with his wife and children, as well.” In fact, Kevin and his mentee feel comfortable picking up the phone and calling one another just to catch-up at any given time.
3. You can gain a new perspective. Due to Kevin and Aaron’s regular meetings, Kevin got to know Aaron’s oldest son Noah who is also interested in farming. Noah has a fresh outlook on the apple industry that Kevin appreciates. Kevin greatly enjoys hearing the fresh ideas, opinions, and thoughts that Aaron’s son offers.
4. It is rewarding to pass on your wisdom. It is extremely gratifying to assist a beginner and see them excel because of your advice. Kevin further explains this, saying “It felt great to pass along the wisdom gained by my experiences. I felt like I was really helping.”
5. It positively affects your actions in everyday life. Kevin says that through this program he learned that passing on your long-view can be very valuable to someone with less experience. “This goes for life in general. As I get older, I need to pass on more life lessons I’ve learned.”
Interested in joining the program?
We are currently seeking both mentees and mentors to participate in the 2020-2022 Farm Forward Mentorship program beginning this December. For more information, contact your local GreenStone branch.
If you are interested in joining the program, sign-up via the 2020-2022 participant application by September 25, 2020!
Image courtesy of Kevin Winkel