Bilingual farmer training and mentorship program


Investigator: Linda Barnes, Marshalltown Community College, Marshalltown, IA
Project location: Iowa

The objectives of the proposed project are to plan and implement a bilingual organic farmer training and mentorship program as part of the Midwest Center for

Entrepreneurial Agriculture (MCEA) at Marshalltown Community College (MCC) in Marshalltown, Iowa. MCEA recourses currently include a 130-acre certified organic farm for use by beginning farmers, a wash and pack facility (funded and slated for construction), and an academic degree program in sustainable, entrepreneurial and diversified agriculture. This proposal seeks to strengthen and expand MCEA by tailoring programming to the needs of the Latino immigrant community and others with previous farming experience interested in a direct, non-academic track to beginning farming.

We propose to develop a bilingual adult-education course in organic and entrepreneurial farming and a farmer-to-farmer mentorship program. This proposal builds upon a larger collaborative project already on the ground in Marshall County to develop a model for supporting community-scale agricultural entrepreneurship among immigrant farmers.

Specific objectives are:

  1. To plan a beginning organic farmer training curriculum and instructor team;
  2. To develop a bicultural organic and sustainable farmer-to-farmer mentor program;
  3. To implement class series in winter 2009 to prepare beginning farmers to start using the land in the following summer.