Back in the heat of August, around 30 farmers convened at the 34th Street Wholistic Garden & Education Center in Gulfport, MS, for a hands-on workshop titled “Growing in the City.” Gulf States Regional Director Rock Woods and Agriculture Specialist Felicia Bell joined with 34th Street’s Executive Director, Mr. James Franklin, to lead this one-day workshop, held with the support of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
NCAT partnered with the non-profit urban farm to provide participants with information about risk management, legal liability, and farm business planning geared specifically toward urban farming and gardening. These subjects are essential in order to operate a successful farm business, and participants learned about topics they didn’t know they didn’t know about. One woman mentioned she had not been aware at all of the legal risks there were when inviting people onto their land. Another said they were excited to implement the record-keeping strategies Rock presented. Many had questions about how to get an urban farm or garden started in their own locations.
After lunch, everyone ventured outside for the tour. Mr. Franklin discussed his experiences running a community-oriented garden. Some folks who rent garden plots at the 34th Street Wholistic Garden were also there to talk about their experiences as part of a community garden, and their experiences growing their own food. Some of the production methods participants were able to see in use were raised beds, high tunnels, on-farm composting, and harvesting techniques.
Everyone left the workshop with a wide array of ATTRA publications as well as the books “Fearless Farm Finances,” published by Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Series (MOSES), and “Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses,” published by Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE).
The next workshop in this series is November 15 in Mound Bayou, MS. Titled “Small Farm Equipment: Choosing & Using the Right Tool for the Job,” it will be at the Alcorn State University Extension/Research Farm. For details and to register, visit NCAT Events.
Couldn’t make it to this event? Check out our broad selection of resources on urban and community gardens at our ATTRA website!