Delta FarmStart Participants Get Ready for the 2016 Season

In this post, we’re sharing a few more snapshots of some of the things happening in February, as participants in Mississippi Delta Council’s Delta FarmStart farmworker microenterprise program gets going in 2016. The program, which is funded by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Program (BFRDP) helps farmworkers and individuals new to farming to launch and accelerate small agriculture businesses. Along with business planning workshops, referrals, technical assistance and mentoring, the program provides $500 mini-grants toward funding qualified business plans. The recent workshop was held at the Mississippi Delta Council warehouse and training facility, which is the site for the Crossroads Farmers Market from May to October. Leading collaboration partners in our Delta FarmStart work are the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative (SRBWI) Women in Agriculture cooperative  and the Tougaloo College Farm Aid 2501 program, which also has a BFRDP-funded program.

Special guest speaker Hugh Balthrop, founder of Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co. encouraged participants to reach out directly to local value-added producers and restaurants.

Hugh Balthrop (front), an entrepreneur, was invited to speak at the Delta FarmStart workshop. Samuel McCray (behind), community organizer, looks on while Mr. Balthrop speaks.

Entrepreneur Hugh Balthrop (front) was invited to speak at the Delta FarmStart workshop in February. Samuel McCray (behind), program and community organizer, looks on and photographs participants.

Hoop houses and chickens

Chickens at the Young’s farm near Marks, MS

Miss Marilyn's Hoop House

Hoop house near Tunica, MS

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Miss Marilyn's raised beds

Raised beds near Tunica, MS

The chicken coop

The chicken coop

Young's farming operation

A closer view of Mrs. Young’s beauties

Miss Marilyn's Hoop House

Mrs. Williams’ hoop house — producing broccoli in mid-February

BFRDP participants at training

Delta FarmStart participants at small farm business planning training, Feb. 2016

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BFRDP participants at training

Participants at training

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