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. This unique 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 begins with our three-month, 480-hour “Growing Urban Farmers” basic training class as described here. New cohorts are welcomed quarterly through the year, with start dates in April, July, October and January.
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.
In addition to a fully paid tuition scholarship, Veterans are given a training stipend of $13/hour with merit-based incentives that can add up to equivalent of $17/hour for basic training. Veteran participants in the shorter, Master Class certification courses will qualify for completion bonuses. Trainees who excel and exhibit leadership qualities will be invited to apply for acceptance to a six-month, paid Hope Farms Apprenticeship.
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 community markets utilizing the mobile Rolling Green Market.
- 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 in their area of professional expertise and visiting guest lecturers. Trainees in the various business certificate 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 480 hours of 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.