Agriculture Workshops Presented
Beginning farmers, gardeners and gardening enthusiasts took part in three Agriculture workshops hosted by the Cooperative Extension Program (CEP) at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). The workshop series targeted small-scale, beginning growers or those wishing to enter production and covered the entire production spectrum from field preparation to harvesting to managing a farm business.
The Urban Gardening and Farmers Market Training workshop held at the Palm Center Garden in Houston, covered Home Vegetable Production, Selling Your Vegetables and Urban Farm Business Planning. Rockiell Woods of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) led the workshop, accompanied by Nelson T. Daniels, Program Specialist at CEP.
The Urban Farming Business Workshop, the second in the series, took place at The Last Organic Outpost, also in Houston, and was led by Woods and Daniels. Focused on The ABC’s of Organic Farming, this workshop covered Marketing, Managing Risks, and Urban Farm Business Planning.
The Small Farm Business Workshop, held in Hempstead, TX, focused on the financial aspect of running a farm business and addressed business planning, financial management, and marketing Ag products. Tywan Arrington of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, led the workshop, along with Daniels. Angela L. Moore, Extension Associate with CEP, led a presentation on the AgrAbility Project, a USDA program aimed at assisting farmers with a disability to continue working in production agriculture.
Each of the three venues has a unique focus. The focus of the Palm Center Garden, for example, is addressing food deserts, which is accomplished by teaching sustainable backyard gardening. The Last Organic Outpost focuses on the use of aquaponics in gardening and features specialty and medicinal plants.
A total of 80 persons attended the entire series. When asked if they would adopt new practices to start or improve their urban garden, 88 percent of the responders at the Urban Gardening and Farmers Market Training workshop and the Small Farm Business workshop said that they would, and 85 percent of the responders at the Urban Farming Business workshop said that they would. Fifty-nine percent of those at the Urban Gardening and Farmers Market workshop said they would sell vegetables at a local farmer’s market, 82 percent said they would develop a mission for their farm business and adopt the financial management strategies discussed at the workshop, and 88 percent of responders attending the Small Farm Business workshop said they would utilize the U.S. Department of Agriculture to enhance their farm business.
These workshops were supported, in part, by Southern Extension Risk Management Education and a USDA Program Grant.
Extension Associate, Agriculture and Natural Resources, CEP