On September 3rd & 5th 2019 HMI led a 14-hour Holistic Cropping Planning workshop for the Albuquerque Grow the Growers 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. The day began with a review of Whole Farm Resource Inventory and Holistic Goal Setting and a conversation 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)
There were eight activities throughout the workshop guiding participants to and through the first 4 steps of creating a holistic crop plan.
The activities and entire 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 resource list for soil testing and composting information and the understanding that the next steps to their crop plan would be to consider their financial and business aims and incorporate them into the plan.
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