Enabling new Agripreneurs through the University of District of Columbia’s Farmer and Service Provider Training Program
The team at University of the District of Columbia’s Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education (CUAGE) have instituted a Farmer Training Program to provide education and support to aspiring and experienced urban farmers in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. The Program offers workshops and other training and plots of farmland (at UDC’s Firebird Farm Agricultural Experiment Station) to urban agripreneurs (agricultural entrepreneurs).
The UDC SARE project is supporting the Farmer Training Program by conducting a suite of training workshops. The project has recruited agricultural service providers from organizations that support urban growers to participate. The project is coordinating efforts with UDC’s Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health (CNDH) to teach a practically-focused food safety workshop to begin building workforce credentials of the participants. The linkage not only provides an opportunity for the university to fulfill its land-grant mission pertaining to Cooperative Extension, but also creates opportunities for knowledge-exchange between the university’s staff and D.C.’s burgeoning farming communities.
Recently Completed Project
Urban Ethnic Food Producers Project
The District of Columbia has a large and growing population of immigrants from African countries and with population growth has come an increase in demand for ethnic specialty crops. Urban farmers and gardeners are interested in meeting this market demand, but need technical assistance.
This three year initiative, begun in 2014, taught both farm educators and urban producers how to produce, store and handle, add-value to healthy African ethnic vegetables. Participants learned how to identify and sell to potential markets including farmers’ markets and restaurants.