From Warriors to Farmers
Training for Veterans
Our nation has a long history of welcoming our troops home and bringing them back into a life where they can work and study out of harm’s way. This unique 2,000-hour training program is designed and offered only to military Veterans. With federal funding from the USDA, qualifying Veterans can earn a full training scholarship and stipend to train as a farmer at Hope Farms.
Veteran training is offered in two versions: a 480-hour Introduction to Urban Farming and a 2,000 comprehensive entrepreneur program, both comprising a 40-hour per week, with the schedules designed to be completed in three or twelve months, respectively. New cohorts in both groups are welcomed quarterly through the year, with start dates in April, July, October and January. The training stipend is $13/hour with merit-based incentives that can add up to equivalent of $17/hour. Participants in the short course may apply earned hours and qualify to continue on to complete the comprehensive training. Graduates of the 2,000 hour comprehensive program who submit a business plan that has been accepted by the Hope Farms Operations Committee, may qualify for the Hope Farms Agri-business Incubator Program, which offers advice and support in land acquisition, growing crops, small business management, as well as access to our supplies and equipment, and participation in the Hope Farms Collaborative to market and distribute their crops. If you are ready for the challenge and satisfaction of growing and providing nutritious food to our community.
What can you expect from training and after?
Key Areas of Study
- Learn how to utilize small scale, intensive organic growing methods to maximize and optimize production of fruits and vegetables on the urban farm. Houston’s year round growing season offers the opportunity to grow a large array of diverse crops utilizing a variety of growing methods.
- Understand and experience the rhythms of a year-round diversified vegetable farm, including planting; cultivation; pest, disease and weed management; irrigation; compost systems; harvest and post-harvest handling; quality control; sales and distribution.
- Learn operational aspects of running an on-site farm stand, CSA program, restaurant and farmers’ market sales and deliveries, in addition to community markets utilizing the mobile Rolling Green Market.
- Learn about managing poultry for egg production and bee hives for honey production, in addition to general ecosystem benefits.
Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills INCLUDED IN 2,000 HR PROGRAM
In addition to field trips and seminars offered by our educational partners, on-site classes are provided by members of the Recipe for Success Foundation in their area of professional expertise and visiting guest lecturers. Trainees gain critical business skills and knowledge required to launch and manage a farm business of their own or work in an agriculture related career.
- fundamentals of small business management
- record keeping
- marketing, social media, promotion and advertising
- financial literacy
What’s Next for Trained Farmers?
After completing 480 hours of training, participants are empowered to make informed choices about pursuing agriculture professionally or as a side gig, or even simply to grow their own food. For those who qualify for and complete the full 2,000 comprehensive training designed to support their decision to become agri-prenuers–including submission of an accepted business plan, the Recipe for Success Team will help veterans launch their new farm during the final quarter of training, then incubate their new enterprises with advice and counsel, continuing education, access to equipment, branding and distribution of products throughout the city to premium and wholesale buyers, CSA members, farm-to-school programs and farmers markets.
Or, if our newly trained farmers prefer to delay starting their own businesses, we will help introduce them to opportunities for jobs in agriculture or food distribution network.
Training is not limited to adults ready to jump start a new business, we have Introductory Classes along with Intern programs for youth and young adults to give them a good look at what the farm business is all about.