Our 2021 Grow the Growers training has come to an end. Check out what folx learned and how you can get involved!
This training is a partnership between HMI, the Bernalillo County Open Space and New Mexico State University (NMSU) Extension. The goal is to provide training in holistic goal setting, decision testing, holistic financial planning, marketing and business planning and holistic cropping planning to the interns participating in the Grow the Growers Program at the Gutierrez Hubbell House in the South Valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico. As in former years, Holistic Management International facilitated three 2-day intensive courses for the Grow the Growers Program first year interns and volunteers.
Jeff Goebel, a Professional Certified Educator with HMI, taught the introduction module April 28 and 30, 2021. This course focused on key Holistic Management planning concepts and principles to help participants manage their farm/ranch for the triple bottom line (social, environmental, and financial sustainability) and more effectively manage resources. Participants experimented with their ability to observe, understand and make decisions based on what they can control. Participants were more talkative than most years which brought about broad conversations of the potential implementations of Holistic Management practices in farming and ranching, in family situations, in policy and government and in community development. The group reviewed last year’s holistic goal and engaged in a conversation about their values and hopes for this year. The participants learned about on-farm decision testing and practiced with a decision case example. Through these new skills participants now have the knowledge and tools to improve their ability to not only work with nature and increase productivity but to work together in a group, team or community environment.
On June 29th, 30th, July 6th & 7th 2021 Sarah Williford led the Holistic Cropping Planning Module. She covered the necessary material for participants to begin a successful holistic crop plan. They 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)
They had 5 in-class activities plus 4 homework assignments throughout the workshop guiding participants 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.
Long time Certified Educator, Cindy Dvergsten facilitated the final session Aug 19&20 and Aug 25&26 via Zoom. Normally the third module would be a Holistic Financial Planning and Marketing and Business Planning hybrid course, however the cohort this year requested Holistic Land Planning so it was exciting to have the opportunity to share this module with not only this year’s interns but some second and third year interns who hadn’t received this training!
Through this training Cindy provided the group with key land planning principles and practices to help participants create a whole farm land plan and make land planning decisions effectively. This simple approach to land planning helps
participants explore key infrastructure/land improvement projects in the context of their whole farm goal. Participants developed management consideration lists, land plan options and explored tool options and the return of investment of the different land planning options.
Participants mapped a future landscape as outlined through the whole farm goal, identified how key natural resources, production, and social issues are affecting the land planning process, and they learned how to prioritized infrastructure development to increase productivity and profit.
As usual, it was a joy to work with the Grow the Growers Program. Next year we are looking forward to broadening our training and hopefully including more stakeholders in the conversations!
Key Outcomes from Program (percentage of participants):
|Overall satisfaction with all three courses||100%|
|Would you recommend this course to others?||100%|
|Intent to change management practices as a result of this training||100%|
|More confident in your ability to make complex decision on your farm/ranch||100%|
|Increased ability to create a whole farm goal||100%|
|Increased ability to identify healthy soil||100%|
|Increased ability to improve key resource concerns||100%|
|Confidence creating a land plan||100%|