Educating emerging farmers in specialty crop production and sales through an incubator farm education program, using soil health practices

Project Overview

FNC21-1292
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2021: $18,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2023
Grant Recipient: Dawn2Dusk Farms
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Moses Momanyi
Dawn2Dusk Farms

Commodities

  • Vegetables: beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, garlic, greens (leafy), greens (lettuces), leeks, okra, onions, peas (culinary), peppers, radishes (culinary), tomatoes

Practices

  • Crop Production: conservation tillage, cover crops, fertilizers, food product quality/safety, irrigation, nutrient management, organic fertilizers, water management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, mentoring, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: business planning, cooperatives, e-commerce, farm-to-institution, farmers' markets/farm stands, financial management, land access, whole farm planning
  • Pest Management: biological control, cultural control, disease vectors, integrated pest management, mulches - general, mulches - killed, physical control, trap crops, traps
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, organic certification, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: composting, green manures, organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, community development, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, food hubs, leadership development, local and regional food systems, partnerships, quality of life, social networks

    Proposal summary:

    Moses Momanyi of Dawn2Dusk Farm and Lakisha Witter of Live Organically will design a comprehensive curriculum to provide education and on farm training-based soil health to emerging farmers who are incubating at Kilimo Minnesota, in Cambridge Minnesota. The objective of the curriculum development is to use it to replicate the incubator start up process for other immigrant farmer incubators. 

    Classes will be taught by zoom, in-person (post Covid19) and on-farm skills sessions as the curriculum is developed. Kent Solberg from Sustainable Farming Association will be consultant and instructor on soil health.

    This project will involve 25 apprentices signed up for a two-year training at Dawn2Dusk farm. Each will be given a pre, mid, and post training assessment to measure overall growth on knowledge on organic/sustainable practices, soil health and farm business management.  Exit interviews will assess growth and readiness to farm and identify additional learning needs. 

    Two demonstration plots at Dawn2Dusk and Living Organically will be used for on-farm training, cover crop, and soil health demonstration for the apprentices to learn from. Apprentices will each have 1/4-acre plot for growing.

    Curriculum and educational materials, assessment tools, soil health information, will be shared widely with other non-profits and prospective incubator farms. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Kilimo is a new incubator farm that provides educational training, on site field skill sessions, and mentorship to 25 East African farmers through a two year program. The project is created to be replicable with other newly emerging incubator farms.

    1. Create a curriculum and educational materials for use with 25 participating farmers at Kilimo in the areas of: organic/ sustainable practices, soil health and fertility management, farm finances, insect, disease and weed management, direct and wholesale marketing.
    2. Prepare and share materials and curriculum with prospective emerging farmer incubators, community interns, allied organizations, and online.
    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.