This project is fundamentally educational. It will support a cohort of new, beginning, and underserved farmers moving through roughly 25 weeks of education and training. Topics will include organic production, regenerative farming, integrated pest management, rotational grazing, marketing, and business management. Beyond classroom education, the cohort will also visit a series of area farms engaged in innovative ecological agriculture. This is meant to both demonstrate the on the ground application of practices farmers will be taught as well as create regional networking opportunities and long-term peer support.
This project is being undertaken as part of the Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) organizational goal to support equity in agriculture. TNC in Ohio typically works with row crop producers across the state. However, we recognize that due to the lack of BIPOC farmers engaged in conventional agriculture in Ohio, this focus must be adjusted if we hope to meaningfully support non-white growers. In Ohio, 30-43% of non-white farmers have been farming for less than ten years, meaning beginning farmer facing programs such as this are essential to providing support for BIPOC producers operating sustainable farm businesses.
Project objectives from proposal:
- Recruit a minimum of six beginning, new, or underserved farmers for the initial cohort
- Translate outreach materials into Spanish
- Design and deliver 25 weeks of learning modules for participating farmers
- Supply test plots for cohort farmers to practice production
- Plan and execute four educational farm visits
- Connect cohort farmers to existing markets (farm store, co-ops)
- Evaluate the program and report out lessons learned