Growing Our Own: Communities That Sustain Entrepeneurs

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2001: $52,483.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Richard Williams
Montana State University Extension Service

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: networking, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, cooperatives, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management, feasibility study, agricultural finance, market study, value added
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, community services, employment opportunities, social capital, social networks, community development


    Sirolli Enterprise Facilitation Training is a bottom-up, person-centered, community-implemented method of entrepreneurial development that has helped thousands of entrepreneurs make better decisions, including farmers and ranchers. The “Growing Our Own” Project provided training to 60 participants in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Participants included an agricultural producer with an idea for a new business or an expansion or diversification; professional agricultural advisors and several community leaders. The three training sessions (Helena, Montana; Clarkston, Washington; and Portland, Oregon) were held during the winter of 2001-2002 with a followup conference in Baker, Oregon, in October, 2002, attended by 19 participants. Although not yet implemented, the training had a major influence on beliefs and behaviors of participants and several have taken steps toward community commitment.

    Project objectives:

    • Demonstrate and introduce a proven, simple, ethical, person-centered, grassroots philosophy and practice of fostering/nurturing entrepreneurs to interested professional agricultural advisors, entrepreneurial producers and community leaders.
      Build positive, collaborative and synergistic relationships between professional agricultural advisors, civic leaders, and producers committed to enhancing environmental quality and stewardship, as well as the economic and social vitality and resiliency of their communities.
      Build capacity of rural communities to create sound, profitable and viable businesses in all sectors of agriculture, and to take responsibility for the future of their own local economies.
      Promote rural community stability and self-sufficiency by increasing income, diversification, quality of life (personal fulfillment) and employment opportunities.
    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.