On June 29th, 30th, July 6th &7th 2021 HMI led a 12-hour Holistic Crop Planning workshop for the Albuquerque Grow the Growers Program participants. Grow the Growers is a comprehensive farm training and business acceleration initiative designed to attract new and emerging farmers into professional food production.
During the workshop, instructor Sarah Williford covered the necessary material for participants to begin a successful holistic crop plan. We began with a review of Whole Farm Resource Inventory and Holistic Goal Setting and talked about how a holistic crop plan is directly related to and reliant on both of these foundational documents. Sarah also shared the benefits of creating a holistic crop plan.
Key learning points and outcomes of the workshop were:
- Key crop planning principles and guidelines
- Ecosystem Processes & Soil facts and terms
- Tools for Managing Ecosystem Processes
- Farm Ecosystem Strategies
- Crop Rotation and Sequencing
- How to develop your Holistic Crop Plan, the first 4 steps (tying it to your holistic goal)
- Bio-monitoring techniques and General Monitoring of our actions taken (part of the feedback loop)
We had 5 in-class activities plus 4 homework assignments throughout the workshop guiding us to and through the first 4 steps of creating a holistic crop plan.
The activities and workshop resulted in each participant:
- Creating statements for their Holistic Goal that refers to soil health, ecosystem processes or land management.
- Creating a Farm/Garden Resource Inventory.
- Creating a field map.
- Identifying management priorities in the context of their Holistic Goal and selecting management strategies and practices to address priorities selected.
Participants finished with a list of next steps for their personal garden plots as well as steps towards ways Grow the Growers can spend time together more effectively.
Thank you to the Thornburg Foundation for making this training possible!