Building Farmer Capacity and Regional
Food Systems in the Deep South
Devona Bell Sherwood
Program Officer
Wallace Center a...
OVERVIEW
•
•
•
•

Wallace Center Overview
Project Overview
Goals & Activities
Grantees
•
•
•
•

New North Florida Cooperat...
THE WALLACE CENTER
The Wallace Center supports entrepreneurs and communities as they build a new, 21st century
food system...
INCREASING FARMER SUCCESS PROJECT
•

•

•
•
•
•

STRENGTHEN the capacities of limited resource and
historically disadvanta...
PROJECT ACTIVITIES
1. Value chain analysis: Strengths,
constraints, needs and opportunities
2. Technical assistance, capac...
VALUE CHAIN ANALYSIS RESULTS
• Many MS and AL farmers
•
•
•
•
•

Are limited resource (making less than $10k/year)
Are his...
OUR APPROACH
• Build Capacity via:
•
•
•
•

Technical assistance
Trainings
Peer-to-peer learning and networking
Work with ...
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
• Wholesale Success workshops in MS and AL for
200 farmers
• Integrated Pest Management training with...
ALABAMA SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE NETWORK
•
•

•

Training/workdays (“Crop Mobs”)
Four Regional Food & Farm
Forums
High-tunn...
MISSISSIPPI SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE NETWORK
•
•

Launched with project support
Farmer trainings:
•
•

•
•
•
•
•
•

sustain...
DEEP SOUTH GRANTEES
• New North Florida Cooperative,
Holmes County, MS
• Deep South Food Alliance,
Alabama’s Black Belt
An...
NEW NORTH FLORIDA COOPERATIVE
• Holmes County MS
Food Hub & mobile
processing unit
• Training for farmers:
crop production...
NNFC ACCOMPLISHMENTS: NEW FOOD HUB
• Launch of Holmes County Food Hub in
summer 2013; created 12 jobs
• Training on produc...
NNFC ACCOMPLISHMENTS
• Working with 40 farmers
• Sales of value-added
products to MS schools,
Memphis City schools, a
stat...
NNFC: CHALLENGES

• Challenges starting food hub included lack of
business expertise among city leaders to
understand the ...
NNFC: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
•
•

•

•

Develop transportation to facilitate Farm
to School markets
Expand facility by 2,400-...
DEEP SOUTH FOOD ALLIANCE
Project Goals
• Local aggregation
• Connect farmers to
identified markets
to increase
availabilit...
DSFA: ACCOMPLISHMENTS
• New food hub
• Aggregating for 15-20
farmers
• Produce is processed,
provided cold storage, and
pr...
DSFA: CHALLENGES

• Farmers production abilities for wholesale
markets and need for TA/agriculture services
• Weather chal...
DSFA: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
• Renovate portions of the food hub facility to develop a
food processing division that continue...
TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY

Cooler at the Shipman Farm, Ariton, AL

Project Goals
• Facilitate the
development of a new
farmers c...
TUSKEGEE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: NEW COOP

• Formed Small Farmers Agricultural Cooperative,
Inc. with 34 members.
• Hosted traini...
TUSKEGEE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: FOOD SAFETY CERTIFICATIONS

With support from the coop, 10 farmers have received food safety
cer...
TUSKEGEE: CHALLENGES

• Heavy rain created delays in installing coolers
and a loss of crops
• Extensive site preparation a...
TUSKEGEE: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
• Six coolers will serve approximately 300 small,
limited-resource farmers
• Opportunity for...
FOOD BANK OF NORTH ALABAMA
Project Goals
• Match farmers with
appropriate markets
• Build efficiencies
within the food sys...
FOOD BANK: CHALLENGES / STRATEGIES
Challenges/Issues

Farm Food Collaborative Strategies

Price: Farmers with diversified ...
FOOD BANK: ACCOMPLISHMENTS

•
•

Helped launch 5 new “neighborhood
run” farmers markets
Connected 13 farmers to markets
ea...
FOOD BANK: ACCOMPLISHMENTS

• Outreach to 115
producers; 18
producers and 20
buyers built the Farm
Food Collaborative
• Le...
FOOD BANK: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

• Continue to support the work of the Farm
Food Collaborative and sales of local food
• Ad...
OVERALL PROJECT RESULTS AND SUCCESS
• Between Fall 2012 through Summer 2013, a total of
about 782,600 pounds of produce so...
QUESTIONS?

Thank you!

Devona Sherwood, Program Officer
Dsherwood@Winrock.org
Deep South Project Site: Wallacecenter.org/...
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SSAWG: Wallace Building Farmer Capacity and Regional Food Systems in the Deep South

  1. 1. Building Farmer Capacity and Regional Food Systems in the Deep South Devona Bell Sherwood Program Officer Wallace Center at Winrock International Southern SAWG Presentation Mobile, AL January 18, 2014
  2. 2. OVERVIEW • • • • Wallace Center Overview Project Overview Goals & Activities Grantees • • • • New North Florida Cooperative Deep South Food Alliance Tuskegee University Food Bank of North Alabama • Results and Success
  3. 3. THE WALLACE CENTER The Wallace Center supports entrepreneurs and communities as they build a new, 21st century food system that is healthier for people, the environment, and the economy. We do this by: • Cultivating learning networks and communities of practice • Bringing lessons to a broader audience • Identifying and piloting emerging models • Linking good food partners & funders to on the ground work • Building food systems capacity through technical assistance We leverage these strategies across all of our work, drawing on market-based approaches to bring more healthy, affordable, sustainably-produced food to all communities, by strengthening farmers capacity selling direct, and scaling up to wholesale, retail, and institutional outlets.
  4. 4. INCREASING FARMER SUCCESS PROJECT • • • • • • STRENGTHEN the capacities of limited resource and historically disadvantaged farmers and farmer groups so that they can meet the supply needs of wholesale markets FACILITATE their success in accessing these markets by developing linkages across the supply chain Target area: Alabama and Mississippi Working with local partners Timeline: Nov 2011 – Jan 2014 Funded by the Walmart Foundation
  5. 5. PROJECT ACTIVITIES 1. Value chain analysis: Strengths, constraints, needs and opportunities 2. Technical assistance, capacity building, and strengthening of regional partnerships 3. Development and support of a Southern learning network 4. Grants to innovative farmers, farmer groups and local farmer support organizations
  6. 6. VALUE CHAIN ANALYSIS RESULTS • Many MS and AL farmers • • • • • Are limited resource (making less than $10k/year) Are historically marginalized Lack basic infrastructure including aggregation points, cooling/packing/processing facilities Lack skills in post-harvest handling, food safety, risk management, and other buyer requirements Lack access to credit, capital, resources, technology • Farmers lack equal access to burgeoning local food markets, especially institutions and wholesale
  7. 7. OUR APPROACH • Build Capacity via: • • • • Technical assistance Trainings Peer-to-peer learning and networking Work with and grant to local partners • Main Local Partners: • • • • • • ASAN: Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network MSAN: Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network DSFA: Deep South Food Alliance FBNA: Food Bank of North Alabama Tuskegee University NNFC-MS: New North Florida Cooperative in Holmes, MS
  8. 8. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE • Wholesale Success workshops in MS and AL for 200 farmers • Integrated Pest Management training with Alabama Cooperative Extension Service • Research on MS farm and food economy and policy with MS Food Policy Council • Meet the Buyers event in Birmingham, AL for 100 farmers and farmer groups • Jack and Jake’s Food Hub (New Orleans market)support for internal operations
  9. 9. ALABAMA SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE NETWORK • • • Training/workdays (“Crop Mobs”) Four Regional Food & Farm Forums High-tunnel trainings: • • • Market assessment, crop production planning, pest management, harvest, handling, and food safety Producer needs surveys Organizational capacity building Mahalah Farm Crop Mob
  10. 10. MISSISSIPPI SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE NETWORK • • Launched with project support Farmer trainings: • • • • • • • • sustainable agriculture, business planning, marketing, and other topics Farmer field days to farms in MS and AL Database of sustainable farms in MS, Innovative farmers in a video series Capacity building & support to 3 model farms that are organic/sustainable and 3 transitioning farms Farm consultations & assistance in developing a personalized farm plan Mississippi Food Summit
  11. 11. DEEP SOUTH GRANTEES • New North Florida Cooperative, Holmes County, MS • Deep South Food Alliance, Alabama’s Black Belt Andrew Williams (DSFA) and Daniel Doyle (MSAN) • Tuskegee University, Alabama • Food Bank of North Alabama
  12. 12. NEW NORTH FLORIDA COOPERATIVE • Holmes County MS Food Hub & mobile processing unit • Training for farmers: crop production & food safety • Distribute fresh, processed produce from MS & Deep South farmers to local schools
  13. 13. NNFC ACCOMPLISHMENTS: NEW FOOD HUB • Launch of Holmes County Food Hub in summer 2013; created 12 jobs • Training on product development, crop production, marketing, value-added production, distribution, and financial and business management practices • Established a facility for product development, value-added processing, and marketing Staff and supporters at the launch of the new food hub • Mobile processing unit for leafy greens and sweet potatoes
  14. 14. NNFC ACCOMPLISHMENTS • Working with 40 farmers • Sales of value-added products to MS schools, Memphis City schools, a state prison, and retailers • 243,115 students served in AL and MS • Total sales: $323k, 186k pounds of food sold
  15. 15. NNFC: CHALLENGES • Challenges starting food hub included lack of business expertise among city leaders to understand the development of the hub and its economic benefits • Weather challenges such as heavy rain led to loss of some crops • Land usage for project participants/farmers was challenging. Needed to lease land for use as a demonstration farm
  16. 16. NNFC: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE • • • • Develop transportation to facilitate Farm to School markets Expand facility by 2,400-2,800 sq ft. and establish cold storage, room for processing equipment Establish 1-2 acre demo sites for 20-40 farmers for trainings in production and post-harvest handling for Farm to School markets Address food safety protocols and offer training/assistance in production, product development for small-scale farmers. Glyen Holmes with fresh collard greens
  17. 17. DEEP SOUTH FOOD ALLIANCE Project Goals • Local aggregation • Connect farmers to identified markets to increase availability of fresh vegetables • 12 demonstration farms
  18. 18. DSFA: ACCOMPLISHMENTS • New food hub • Aggregating for 15-20 farmers • Produce is processed, provided cold storage, and prepared for marketing to various buyers • Created 4-6 part time jobs • Sales of more than $41k and over 71,000 pounds of food • Training farmers to meet growing demand and extend their market reach Andrew Williams harvesting collards
  19. 19. DSFA: CHALLENGES • Farmers production abilities for wholesale markets and need for TA/agriculture services • Weather challenges (heavy rain) led to delays in planting • Completion of some of the infrastructure to bring the distribution site (new food hub) to full capacity • Fund raising for the new food hub
  20. 20. DSFA: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE • Renovate portions of the food hub facility to develop a food processing division that continues to meet food safety requirements • Purchase and install vegetable processing equipment such as pea shellers, leafy green cutters, baggers, etc • Purchase and install coolers, flash freezers, and an ice machine • Train part-time employees on food safety practices • Purchase packaging supplies needed to market produce
  21. 21. TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY Cooler at the Shipman Farm, Ariton, AL Project Goals • Facilitate the development of a new farmers cooperative • Purchase 6 cold storage units to enhance regional cold chain capacity for Alabama farms • Provide Tuskegee a longterm agreement with farm leaders to increase watermelon, peas, and collard production
  22. 22. TUSKEGEE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: NEW COOP • Formed Small Farmers Agricultural Cooperative, Inc. with 34 members. • Hosted training sessions focused on: • • • • • • Food safety Irrigation Soils Pest management Pollination Financial management
  23. 23. TUSKEGEE ACCOMPLISHMENTS: FOOD SAFETY CERTIFICATIONS With support from the coop, 10 farmers have received food safety certifications for watermelon, purple hull peas, and greens.
  24. 24. TUSKEGEE: CHALLENGES • Heavy rain created delays in installing coolers and a loss of crops • Extensive site preparation at farms caused delays in utilizing coolers in 2013 • Final installment of coolers taking place in winter/spring 2014
  25. 25. TUSKEGEE: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE • Six coolers will serve approximately 300 small, limited-resource farmers • Opportunity for marketing 23,000 cases of greens and 7,500 cases of peas, primarily to Walmart • Farmer coop will focus on expanding markets and minimizing risks • Continue working with 24 farmers on food safety certifications
  26. 26. FOOD BANK OF NORTH ALABAMA Project Goals • Match farmers with appropriate markets • Build efficiencies within the food system to benefit target producers • Strengthen farmer capacity to meet buyer needs
  27. 27. FOOD BANK: CHALLENGES / STRATEGIES Challenges/Issues Farm Food Collaborative Strategies Price: Farmers with diversified small farms have expressed the need for retail markets and retail prices in order to remain viable Supports the development of additional retail market opportunities on multiple days of the week Few Alabama farmers have attained Food Safety Certifications that are required by a growing number of institutional buyers Hosting Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) trainings for Alabama farmers
  28. 28. FOOD BANK: ACCOMPLISHMENTS • • Helped launch 5 new “neighborhood run” farmers markets Connected 13 farmers to markets earning an estimated $500 per market per farmer in retail sales plus wholesale sales
  29. 29. FOOD BANK: ACCOMPLISHMENTS • Outreach to 115 producers; 18 producers and 20 buyers built the Farm Food Collaborative • Leveraged community resources to make wholesales sales happen • Farmers gave back
  30. 30. FOOD BANK: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE • Continue to support the work of the Farm Food Collaborative and sales of local food • Address lack of certifications among farmers (i.e. GAP)
  31. 31. OVERALL PROJECT RESULTS AND SUCCESS • Between Fall 2012 through Summer 2013, a total of about 782,600 pounds of produce sold for a value of more than $561,600 • 220+ historically disadvantaged/limited resource farmers reached • 36 organizations with greater capacity • 76 buyers with access to local foods • 319,054 consumers with increased access to fresh, locally produced food • 816 farmers and families impacted
  32. 32. QUESTIONS? Thank you! Devona Sherwood, Program Officer Dsherwood@Winrock.org Deep South Project Site: Wallacecenter.org/increasingfarmersuccess

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