Friday, April 16, 2010

Grow Your Farm Graduation

Last week I attended the final session of the Warrenton Grow Your Farm class. What an outstanding experience!! It was obvious that the leaders, Shelly Bush Rowe and Janet Hurst, had led the six families through fruitful learning exercises, interactions with key professionals and potential mentors, and serious planning and budgeting. The camaraderie and support that has developed within the group was abundantly evident.

Each of the participating families was at a different point in their planning, but all had made huge progress in their planning and actions since the first meeting. The Knolls of Seven Cedars Farm may have progressed the most, partly because they were already in business and pretty certain of the direction they wanted to go. During the Grow Your Farm course, the Knoll’s focused on their goals + strengths + resources + constraints and mapped out their future direction. They came to the last class session with a new sales brochure, new business cards, a price list for the plants they will be offering for sale and the beginnings of a website. If you need hostas, ornamental grasses, flowering perennials, knockout roses and/or flowering shrubs, the Knolls are ready for you; call (314) 541-0195. They’re located in the Jonesburg area.

As a contrast to the Knolls, Dave and Margita came to the first class with only the idea that they hope to one day own a small farm. And, even though they have not yet found that “right” farm it was evident the 8 sessions had been valuable to them in helping sort out feasible options that fit their goals, personalities and resources…and for helping them avoid making a potentially unwise decision.

After giving her testimonial on the value of the 8 sessions and 3 farm tours to her, one participant asked the question: “Why didn’t more people enroll in this course?” And, the conclusion was: It is NOT about the number of people who enroll; it IS about helping families and individuals who are truly interested and committed to assess their unique situation and develop a plan (or plans) that fit with their aspirations, resources, lifestyle choices and income needs.

A “tip of the hat” to all involved in Warrenton for a successful and inspiring, Grow Your Farm group journey.  (Ken Schneeberger)

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