Successful operation of small-scale specialty crop farms requires knowledge in production as well as business and marketing. Without foundational business skills, an otherwise successful farmer will not maximize their sales and growth potential. Community Crops works primarily with refugee and immigrant farmers who are often highly skilled in production, but need more support on the business and marketing aspects of their operations. Barriers in culture and language can make these challenges more pronounced. Access to technology and knowledge on how to use technological tools has also been a limitation. This project, titled “Marketing & Business Skills for Beginning, Refugee, & Immigrant Farmers in Lincoln, Nebraska,” will focus on providing a series of educational workshops which will connect beginning farmers, with an emphasis on immigrant and refugee farmers, in the Lincoln, Nebraska area to a network of qualified instructors. Farmer education will focus on marketing, making small farms profitable, and developing sustainable business models. Project objectives include 1) 12 educational workshops (6 classes each year for 2 years) on business planning and marketing for small-scale specialty crop farmers in the Lincoln, Nebraska region and 2) increasing the confidence and knowledge of small-scale specialty crop farmers in Lincoln, Nebraska region on business planning and marketing for their farm businesses. There is a lot of opportunity for beginning, refugee, and immigrant farmers to build successful operations throughout the North Central Region. This project will focus on developing an educational curriculum that can be shared with other organizations serving these communities in our region, ensuring farmers have access to the full toolbox of skills they need to build sustainable farm operations. Our educational model includes partnering with successful local farmers to co-teach so that farmers are learning from their peers and building a long-term network of relationships that can be sustained beyond the project.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Offer 12 workshops ( 2 years with 6 classes each) on business planning & marketing for small-scale speciality crop farmers in the Lincoln, Nebraska region.
- Increase confidence and knowledge of small-scale specialty crop farmers in Lincoln, Nebraska region on business planning & marketing for their farm businesses.
Pre- and post-surveys and/or focus groups will be utilized to understand the baseline knowledge, confidence, and educational needs of the farmers our project will reach. The curriculum developed, including translated materials and lessons learned, will be made available to other farmers and programs in the North Central Region at the project conclusion.