Susan Maddox of Earth Harmony Produce.jpg

Susan Maddox of Earth Harmony Produce in Ocean View was one of two winners of a Debra L. Schaefer Scholarship for Emerging Women Farmers this year.

Small Delmarva farmers interested in learning more about sustainable agriculture practices and focused on growing for the local market can apply now for the 2022 Historic Lewes Farmers Market (HLFM) scholarship program. Completed applications are due no later than Friday, Dec. 17.

The HLFM is awarding a number of scholarships for 2022 sustainable agriculture conferences. Many of the conferences are virtual, and those that are in-person still might change to virtual formats, depending on the COVID-19 situation. Up to $150 for virtual conferences, and up to $500 for in-person conferences, will be awarded.

“The challenges to the food distribution chain make these conferences even more important again this year when the farming community is exploring how to make regional food systems more resilient,” representatives said.

Conferences include some in the Mid-Atlantic: the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) Annual Farming for the Future Conference, Jan. 4-28, 2022, (www.pasafarming.org); Future Harvest CASA Conference, Jan. 13-14, 2022, (www.futureharvestcasa.org); 2022 Delmarva Soil Summit, Feb. 7-8, 2022; and the Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Conference, Feb. 1-3, 2022, (www.mafvc.org).

The conferences draw farmers and others in the farming community interested in education about sustainable agriculture practices from a broad section of the East Coast, Mid-Atlantic and the South with similar growing conditions to the Delmarva.

In 2016, the Historic Lewes Farmers Market established an emerging women farmers’ scholarship fund in memory of Debra Schaefer, who died that year. It was her family’s wish that this scholarship be established in loving memory of Schaefer, who was a sustainable farmer in the Frankford area. On the application, applications should note if they are applying for a Debra Schaefer Scholarship.

To be eligible for the scholarships, the Delmarva farmer must:

  • Currently be developing a sustainable farming enterprise, or currently farming, on the Delmarva.
  • Currently operate a small farm (low-sales) as defined by the ERS (Economic Research Service) for the United States Department of Agriculture (less than $350,000 gross in agricultural sales), in Delmarva, or be able to demonstrate financial need to attend this conference. (Only one applicant per farm.)
  • Currently be a farmer/grower who sells what they grow, raise or produce on their own farm. A farmer/grower may be a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation, and shall include family members and employees who assist in the production and/or sales/marketing of the farm products.
  • Commit to sharing their experiences at a virtual HLFM farmer’s workshop to be held in the spring.

To receive an application and more information about the scholarships, call (302) 644-1436 or email info@historiclewesfarmersmarket.org. Completed applications are due no later than Friday, Dec. 17, and all scholarship applicants will be notified of awards by Jan. 7, 2022.