- Education and Training: extension, networking, workshop
- Sustainable Communities: employment opportunities
The objective of the ongoing Growing Growers for Greater Kansas City project is to increase the number of local growers producing and selling food in the Greater Kansas City region. The Growing Growers Training Program is funded by NCR-SARE from July 2003 through June 2005, to organize apprenticeships on local organic/sustainable farms, and to develop activities to improve the skills of existing farmers. We are requesting continuing funding from SARE to help us develop this project into an ongoing training program that will support regional growers during all stages of their lives as farmers. We have made significant progress in this first year of funding. Our newly established program of apprenticeships and workshops has been well received by established and aspiring local growers. We have offered 12 training activities with attendance totaling more than 450 registrants (a new set will be developed for 2005). We have created a Beginning Farmer curriculum and list of resources (text books, etc.) based on a set of “Grower Competencies” elaborated in consultation with local growers. Thirteen apprentices were placed on 7 local farms and worked, studied, and learned about sustainable, local food production. [www.growinggrowers.org] We feel that the Growing Growers Training Program needs to be a permanent joint program between K-State and MU and our other partner organizations. We are therefore requesting continued, but progressively decreasing funding from SARE over years 3 through 5 to assist us to continue to develop the local grower community. By Year 5 of the Growing Growers Training Program, we will have an integrated program that supports farmers from the early stages of learning about farming through the first years of operating their own farms, and that provides networking, educational and development opportunities for established growers.
Project objectives from proposal:
Short-term outcomes will include measurable numbers of:
1) Future producers participating in the project’s apprenticeship program;
2) Past apprentices now in the early stages of establishing their own farm operations to produce for the Kansas City market;
3) Existing producers improving the viability of their operations using sustainable agriculture and marketing techniques learned under the project.
Intermediate outcomes will include measurable numbers of producers satisfying demand for locally grown farm products in the KC metro area. This will be reflected in increasing volumes of products reaching consumers through various marketing channels. Intermediate outcomes will also include a diversified and stable base of funders and income sources for the Training Program. Beneficiaries will primarily include growers (who will have profitable farms), businesses (restaurants and markets) involved in meeting consumer demand for local farm products, and area consumers who will have increased availability of high quality, local farm products.