From Warriors to Farmers
PROFESSIONAL FARMER 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. Thanks to federal funding from the USDA, we were able to design a farmer training program that works for everyone, but is uniquely adapted to the needs of Veterans who automatically qualify for tuition assistance to train as a farmer at Hope Farms. Veteran training begins with our 12-week “Growing Urban Farmers” basic training class as described here. New cohorts are welcomed twice a year, with start dates in March and October.
After successfully completing this three-month introductory class, vets may continue their agricultural education with specialty certifications offered by Hope Farms through an annual schedule of Master Classes that include in-depth learning about operating a commercial farm. Class schedules are designed to allow completion of both the introductory course and all advanced certifications within as little as six months, but Master Classes may also be taken over the course of a year or more.
Graduates who submit a business plan that is approved by the Hope Farms Operations Committee, will qualify for the Hope Farms Agri-business Incubator Program, which offers advice and support in land acquisition, growing crops, small business management, and use of equipment, as well as an invitation to participate in the Hope Farms Collaborative to market and distribute their crops.
If you are ready for a career change that resonates with the rhythm of nature while giving you the deep satisfaction of growing and providing nutritious food to your community, apply today and join our efforts to establish and support an robust local food system in Houston.
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 pop-up community markets.
- Go deeper with certifications in everything from poultry and egg production to orchard management, soil building, urban animals, crop planning, flower production, greenhouse management, irrigation, farm planning and design, fruit and nut trees, berries, pests and beneficials, plant propagation, season extension, LEAN farm practices, farm accounting and more.
Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills INCLUDED IN MASTER CLASSES
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 education team in their area of professional expertise and by visiting guest lecturers. Trainees in the various business certificate Master Class tracks 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
- building a successful business plan
What’s Next for Trained VETERAN Farmers?
After completing 12 weeks of Growing Urban Farmers training, veterans are empowered to make informed choices about pursuing agriculture professionally, as a side gig, or even simply to grow their own food. Those who complete the full curriculum of both basic training and Master Class certifications and submit an accepted business plan, will qualify for Hope Farms Business Incubation. Recipe for Success Team will help these veterans launch their new farm business and incubate their new enterprises with advice and counsel, continuing education, access to equipment, and membership in the collaborative, which provides branding and distribution of products throughout the city to premium and wholesale buyers, CSA members, farm-to-school programs and farmers markets.