- Education and Training: farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, participatory research, study circle, technical assistance, workshop
- Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, agritourism, apprentice/intern training, budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, financial management, grant making
- Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, community development, community services, employment opportunities, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, leadership development, partnerships, urban agriculture
Based primarily in Metro Atlanta, the HABESHA Works program trains and certifies low to moderate income adults, ages 18-45. Participants in the program become beginning farmers by developing skills focused in sustainable agriculture practices. Throughout its eight years in operation, the program has produced over 120 graduates who have continued working as farmers, entrepreneurs, and farming advocates. In order to meet the more advanced needs of its growing alumni network, HABESHA is now expanding its initiative to target beginning farmers, agribusiness entrepreneurs, and farmer advocates who have been operating for less than 10 years.
Studies conducted by the USDA show that farming businesses are significantly (30%) more likely to fail within the first 10 years and have the highest (50%) risk of failure in the first 4 years. By establishing the HABESHA Agriculture Leadership Opportunity (HALO Program), HABESHA is seeking to remedy this issue through providing advanced training and support for these individuals. In doing so, HABESHA is leveraging its partnerships with organizations like the National Farmers Union, Southern SARE, and the Land Loss Prevention Project to craft business and leadership training that will teach participants how to grow businesses and sustain successful initiatives that contribute to a thriving food system. Based on prior successes, HABESHA anticipates cohorts of 12 to 15 participants to complete the program annually. HABESHA also plans to create an online repository of classes to make the program available remotely to participants outside of Metro Atlanta.
The HALO Program will incorporate in-class lectures paired with homework assignments, independent research, field trips and immersion experiences for practical application of learning concepts. The 7-month curriculum will focus on advanced farm planning, business education and leadership skills as they relate and can be applied to participants’ current businesses and initiatives. Subjects include:
- Implementing an Organic Systems Plan;
- Retail Readiness;
- Branding and Marketing;
- Succession Planning;
- Accessing USDA Funding;
- Emotional Intelligence, Relationship Building, and Conflict Resolution; and
- Organizational Development & Management
Project objectives from proposal:
The HALO Program sets forth the following objectives, which are established to address the environmental , economic and social-emotional components as defined by the program’s definition of sustainability. This includes:
- Over a two year period, the HALO program will provide practical education on how to make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources by educating 30 (12-15 farmers per year) farmers on how to write and follow an organic system plan.
- To deliver managerial and business education that focuses on the proper use of human, financial, and environmental resources to support operations in a more sustainable way, and also how to identify and engage in business relationships creating more opportunities for economic sustainability and growth.
- To provide leadership training that focuses on emotional intelligence, relationship building, conflict resolution, and organizing and planning to expand the leadership capabilities of urban farmers, agriculture-based business owners, and related advocates.