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Farmer Education and Enterprise Development (feed) For Beginning, Socially-disadvantaged (bsd) Farmers in The Salinas Valley

Investigators
Brown, C. D.
Institutions
Agriculture & Land-based Training Association
Start date
2016
End date
2019
Objective
The FEED goal is to enable 150 beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers to launch, incubate and/or sustainably establish independent organic farm businesses. In addition, FEED will provide outreach, information and learning opportunities to another 300 regional BSD farmers.Objective 1 (Start-Up): 70 farmers gain education & assistance to prepare for & launch farm businesses.Objective 2 (Incubation): Strengthen viability of 70 beginning farm businesses.Objective 3 (Transition and Maturation): 40 newly independent farmers transition, stabilize & strengthen their farm businesses; 300 additional farmers provided information & assistance to help their businesses.Helping farm workers pursue the dream of farm ownership is an ambitious one. ALBA has proven it can be achieved, aided by a well-qualified team, a strong partner consortium and an experiential, multi-year farmer development program. Every farmer brings different knowledge, skills and resources to the program, and, thus, has a unique developmental timeline. Even so, our experience shows that all farmers pass through key stages, each of which calls for distinct training activities, resource allocation and milestones. We define the stages as follows:(1) Start-up (Year 1-2). Aspiring farmers take the Farmer Education Course (PEPA) to learn all aspects of farm business management. In year two they launch their business on ½ acre where they test their commitment, capacity and potential for independent farming.(2) Incubation (Year 3-4). Having shown potential and commitment, farmers now take on enough land to support themselves, grow market-ready product, explore new market channels, gain experience managing a work crew, and begin to master financial management and regulatory compliance.(3) Transition (Year 5-6). Showing stronger general management skills, attention turns to locating land, securing financing and solidifying business relationships while adjusting to farming at a new site.(4) Maturation (Year 7-8). Farm businesses stabilize and grow, looking toward long term goals, while tapping into ongoing education, information, and business services through the consortium.ALBA's role in FEED is largely focused on the first 5-years of farmer development providing services through Start-up and Incubation to mid-way through the Transition stages. Strategic partners offer targeted education and technical assistance during this time and their role increases for those farmers in the Transition and Maturation stage. This is particularly true for CFL and KTA who assume heightened responsibility for farm viability once farmers leave ALBA's RDC.The logical framework below, states the goal and objectives of the FEED project, linking outputs and outcomes to each objective. Each of FEED's objectives focuses on a developmental stage, with the third objective encompassing the final two (Transition and Maturation). The three-year BFRDP funded FEED program will provide services to BSDs at all stages of the continuum including 70+ in Start-up, 70+ in Incubation and 40+ in the Transition and Maturation stages.The first two objectives center on ALBA's core activities: the Farmer Education Course (PEPA) and the Organic Farm Incubator, including the marketing service provided by ALBA Organics. Done in tandem, these services develop the necessary knowledge, skills, resources and market access to establish a new farm business. The third project objective aims to strengthen the long-term sustainability of farmers, aiding in the transition, planning and management process during and after the move to a new land parcel. Though the focus of the project is on current and past ALBA participants, the third objective will also extend services beyond ALBA alumni, providing outreach and assistance to more than 300 BSD farmers in the tri-county area. Moreover, bilingual tools developed under FEED will be posted on our website and shared with partners' farmer networks nationwide, including USDA 'New Farmer' website.Objective 1 (Start-Up): 70 farmers gain education & assistance to prepare for & launch farm businesses.Objective 2 (Incubation): Strengthen viability of 70 beginning farm businesses.Objective 3 (Transition and Maturation): 40 newly independent farmers transition, stabilize & strengthen their farm businesses; 300 additional farmers provided information & assistance to help their businesses.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
CALW-2016-03303
Accession number
1009913
Categories
Education and Training
Policy and Planning