In 2017, HMI focused on supporting apprentices, interns and scholarship participants in the New Agrarian Program (NAP) by partnering with the Quivira Coalition. This program was also made possible by support from the Thornburg Foundation. We had 35 total participants including mentors, interns, apprentices, HMI scholarship recipients, and employees of Quivira who participated in the program.
We made a goal to have our participants complete 3 of the 4 courses offered. The NAP program offered participants the opportunity to take the Introduction to Holistic Management course, Holistic Financial Planning course, Holistic Marketing and Business Planning course, and the Holistic Land/Biological Monitoring course. We have had 100% participation in completing those goals. Throughout the program, we used Instructure Canvas as our distance learning platform and made sure that all webinars were interactive and anyone who handed in completed assignments received feedback on their work. We recorded all webinars and archived so those who couldn’t make the sessions could watch and listen to the recordings and email instructors with questions and provide input via the discussion forum.
The overall response to surveys shows that there was high satisfaction rate among participants for these courses ranging from 90-100% satisfaction. Actual behavior change in terms of created plans/drafts varied depending on subject. There was a certain amount of participant fatigue as the year went on so there was good attendance in webinars and Canvas but not as many people completing assignments by the last course. Thanks to the Thornburg Foundation for their support of this program.
|Course/Module||Number of Apprentices, Interns and Scholarship Participants Who Participated|
|Introduction to Holistic Management||20|
|Holistic Financial Planning||20|
|Marketing and Business Planning||14|
|Holistic Land/Biological Monitoring||10|
Our participants are from several different states, and 2 different countries, See the table below:
|States||Number of Participants|
“The NAP intro to Holistic Management has been a wonderful addition to the farm work I’ve done this season. This course has taught me much of the foundational theory and framework that often goes unspoken about on farms and connected it in a meaningful way to the labor I’ve been doing. Understanding the why, not just the how, feels crucial to actually pursuing agriculture as a livelihood.”
“The introduction to Holistic Management Course was an incredible opportunity to articulate the dreams that live with in me and give them a frame work to form them in goals that can be achieved. The language of planning begins to be crafted and your eyes open to seeing the world with questions that enable you to cultivate healthy decision making that is connected to your highest goals of caring for the earth, your community, and your family. I feel so fortunate to be able to take this course and know that these are seeds that will grow with me into the landscape of my life, thank you so much.”
“The NAP HMI course has given me a framework that I can apply to any of my future endeavors; to help make decisions, plan for financial stability, and work towards accomplishing my holistic goals.”
Here’s what the participants had to say about the program:
- The Holistic Goal is something that I will take into all aspects of my life and give this gift to family members and friends.
- There is so many things that I learned that were new to me and that I was able to gain a better understanding of. I would say the Holistic Goal and the testing questions which are the most difficult because it asks you to change the way that you look at life and your decisions in life. The two of them I will continue to grow and learn with and from for the rest of my life.
- I will go over my Holistic Goal and work of my business plan, and practice the testing questions on future decisions.”
- I liked when people spoke from their examples. I liked specific examples.
- I felt like it gave me a good framework to ask questions, and analyze certain moments and take initiative on certain projects.
- The reading materials offered were the most beneficial. And the thoughts they prompted.
- Working through my holistic goal was such a great learning experience with them (mentors). As was attempting to work through some pricing decisions, and breakeven points.
- I feel like I have a better understanding of holistic management which is certainly how I want to approach farming and/or ranching.
- I feel more confident in all the components of marketing, and different levels a business has to engage in.
- I did really enjoyed that last class. It felt relatable as somebody who has no land of her own, but there is land I care about, and land I soon might have the opportunity to manage.
- The ability to analyze ecosystem health: this is something that I do feel as if working with both my mentors and holistic management has increased my confidence.
- With the knowledge from the program I will help other organizations re-organize how they view their relationship to their land and their business missions. Help other organizations gain perspective on how their missions and visions can extend to cover ecological, social, and economic goals.
- I liked learning the framework of the holistic decision making, I really appreciated the testing questions model.
- My greatest learning experience was Financial Planning and the tools that came along with it.
- As a result of the program, I already have created a personal financial plan, to help save more money.
- The classes DID foster some great discussion, and we were motivated to do more integration between the ranch operations and the classes.
- As we mentors were already very familiar with HM and have been practicing it for decades, we liked some of the way the Holistic goal explanations and worksheets have been revised, making them more useful for people starting out, with limited or no assets. I also think the Marketing module was very informative and would have liked to attend that webinar more often. I think Monica Pless from Quivira brought valuable insights and ways to help make the coursework more relevant to the age and experience level of apprentices.
- I gained confidence in ranch decisions. The degree to which I was able to engage with the course re-emphasized the value of all the different elements of HM that we use in our ranch and life, and re-invigorated me to more actively use some of the methodologies.
- I loved the online training with HMI.
- The greatest learning experience I can say I’ve had is realizing that there are more people out there like me that didn’t grow up in agriculture and are willing to learn and grow with different ideas for land management.”
- I will apply the information from the program it in the future when I am running a ranch of my own.
- The depth of knowledge was awesome! Very practical useful materials too.
- My greatest learning experience was probably how important all of the business aspects are collectively. It seems all the topics we covered are essential to making a ranching business successful. I liked the systems dynamics.