On the ten-year anniversary of the New Farmer Development Project, the project completed another successful farmer training class, La Nueva Siembra. Designed specifically for immigrants with agricultural experience who are interested in starting their own operation, the course concluded a successful run with 13 graduates. These future farmers hailed from Guatemala, Mexico, Taiwan, Haiti, Guyana, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the U.S., and learned to develop business plans as diverse as their backgrounds. From an online mushroom CSA to urban aquaculture, their ideas are now entering the new planning phase, with individual assistance from the NFDP staff for the 2011 growing season.
Offered Tuesday evenings from October to December and concluding with a weekend intensive, La Nueva Siembra covered a wide range of topics including Goals and Skills Evaluation, Finding Land, Finances, Labor and Development Laws, and Marketing and Production Plans, to name a few. To increase the effectiveness of the curriculum, many students took advantage of workshops organized by NFDP and its partners throughout late summer and early fall – Marketing in the Market, Seed Saving, Farm Tour and Tractor Safety. Participants also had the opportunity to attend various conferences with the NFDP staff and current farmers throughout the fall and winter, and will continue to do so as 2011 progresses.
As “real world” complementary elements to the class, four guest farmers gave presentations, advice, and answered the multitude of questions for class participants. The NFDP sincerely thanks Martin and Gaudencia Rodriguez, Sergio and Paz Nolasco, Jorge Carmona, and Nestor Tello for sharing their precious time and invaluable experience with the LNS class of 2010!
Congratulations to all the graduates and best of luck! We all look forward to following your stories as your farming plans unfold!