Microenterprise Training in Habitat Restoration
Updated: Jun 28
Our Fall 2023 Habitat Restoration Internship provides paid microenterprise training and technical assistance in habitat restoration for Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and BIPOC individuals who want to start their own businesses.
Paid training, technical assistance, and mentoring are being offered to Native Americans and other BIPOC individuals interested in owning and operating their own habitat restoration, native plant nursery, or other environmental, horticultural, or agricultural business. Native American nonprofit, Elderberry Wisdom Farm (EWF), south of Salem, OR, has created the Native Agriculture Biodiversity Accelerator (NABA) which is funded by USDA and other funders.
This Internship will operate three days a week for ten weeks from mid-Oct. to mid-Dec. 2023. Native educators and Western science professionals will provide mentoring and technical assistance that integrate Native American habitat restoration practices with Western science. Training includes 60 hours of indoor classroom education on our 2-acre farm in Salem plus 120 hours of experiential service learning. Our organic farms in Lebanon and Salem, OR are maintained free of herbicides, pesticides, and other contaminants. Participants will receive a $3,000 stipend for completion of the internship.
Ongoing microenterprise business opportunities will be available for an additional three years for those completing their internship. Training and technical assistance will be provided until emerging business owners/operators are fully trained to own a conservation business that integrates agroforestry, climate resilience practices, including dry farming, plus transitioning to organic, and other indigenous practices. Two meaningful conservation businesses - Native American Habitat Restoration LLC and Native American Plant Nursery LLC - are being formed by EWF and will be transitioned over to a team of owners/operators. The native plant nursery will be developed as an agroforest on farmland where food and medicinal plants, especially threatened and endangered species, can be restored. The habitat restoration company will develop partnerships that support its growth and sustainability. The goal is to provide our cohorts with businesses that can support multigenerational prosperity for their families.
EWF’s Native-owned business, Blue Elderberry Farm LLC, has formed and developed its business, marketing, and financial plan so it can serve as a business model for others who are interested in developing value-added food and medicinal products. Plans include a line of organic elderberry products, including syrups and flower remedies, so Naturopathic Clinics can provide immune system and other health issue support to their patients. Financial estimates for Blue Elderberry Farm LLC and its Blue Elderberry Syrup product line show minimal debt during several years of development, with net profit achieved in its fourth year.
The businesses are also being developed to strengthen the biodiversity and sustainability of ecosystems in the mid-Willamette Valley and other parts of the region. Our partnership with Oregon Tilth will provide training so lands can transition to organic, creating more biodiversity and long-term sustainability. Chemeketa Community College will provide interns with two free accredited horticulture and irrigation classes. Producers may also be part of the Native American Farm Cooperative and Farmer’s Market which will support development and marketing of their business.