Rural Women as Agriculture Leaders

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2005: $9,980.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Principal Investigator:
Mikhiela Sherrod
Southwest Georgia Project

Annual Reports


  • Nuts: pecans
  • Vegetables: beans, cabbages, cucurbits, eggplant, greens (leafy), onions, peas (culinary), peppers, tomatoes, turnips
  • Additional Plants: herbs, ornamentals


  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, networking, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, cooperatives, marketing management, feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study, value added
  • Soil Management: organic matter
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration


    The purpose of this project was to assist and enable groups of rural black women that are small-scale producers in southwest Georgia, to develop viable businesses based on vegetables, herbs and other agricultural products. The project helped these women organize as individual counties and a collective group in addition to planning how to develop their businesses and community partnerships.

    This project supplemented and expanded the training the women received as participants in a year-long Risk Management Education course. The workshops engaged women through planning sessions that fostered discussions on methods and means to cooperate and use individual resources to expand the groups resources to ultimately develop sustainable marketing and economic development projects.


    The purpose of this project is to enable groups of small scale, limited resource black women producers in rural southwest Georgia to develop economically viable businesses and market systems for products based on vegetables, herbs and cut flowers.
    The target area for this project is southwest Georgia, a region that is mostly rural and suffers from persistent and pervasive poverty.
    The women who participated in this project are members of the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative. The Initiative is designed to help women in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi become engaged in community and economic development and advocacy and policy initiatives.
    These rural women all have limited resources and access to land, and at the outset were interested in small-scale agriculture-based businesses
    In addition to this, the participants needed help in formulating ways to network together while allowing for their individual differences in goals, resources, and interests. The majority also had limited knowledge about production methods and processing requirements but were eager to learn.

    Project objectives:

    Workshops and Planning Sessions

    To hold workshops and Group planning sessions. The workshops would provide information and the planning session would provide an opportunity for structured exploration of ways in which the information presented in workshops could be applied to specific businesses. Through the proposed planning sessions, the women would also be able to build consensus and develop a working network.

    Recruitment Activities

    Since there is strength in numbers, the project staff and the participants sought to publicize the project activities and recruit more women like themselves who are interested in developing agriculture-related businesses.

    Outreach Activities

    In order to replicate the project in other areas or for other groups, the participants would look for opportunities to communicate with women from their community and communities in Alabama and Mississippi.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.