For the past two years, we have been training Native American interns in Traditional Ecological Knowledge Workforce Development. Our classes have included Conservation and Habitat Restoration, plus Health and Wellness Resilience. We are still continuing these workforce development trainings, but now have expanded to include organic farming and microenterprise development.
The Organic Farming Internship is our newest initiative, and we have accepted four interns into the cohort. The eight-week training started April 6. In addition to classroom education and experiential service learning on our educator’s organic farm, the cohort will tour several organic farms within an hour of our farm. We are grateful to these generous farm owners, including the Minto Island Farm and the Youth Farm at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, plus Persephone Farm in Sweet Home.
We are also providing training and support to our interns so they can form the Native American Cooperative and Farmers Market. The additional technical assistance support includes opportunities for the cohort to develop their own feasibility studies and begin drafting their business, marketing and financial plans. The cohort is also encouraged to develop value added food products which have potential for a higher profit margin. It therefore strengthens opportunities for them to strategically form sustainable businesses that can provide the owners and their families with multigenerational success.