Last month our Southern SAWG training team conducted four one-day training sessions around the state of Mississippi. Working with Andrew Williams, Mark Cain and Mark Schonbeck our training sessions addressed the principals and techniques of small-scale organic production and Hoop House management for NRCS professionals. Our NRCS contact remarked, “We had no idea the training content would be of such a high quality!”
Our first stop on the tour was in partnership with the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production (ASAP). Keith Benson of ASAP along with Ms. Mattie Coleman and their crew welcomed us to the Woodrow and Odessa Coleman Demonstration Farm inGoodman, MS. This is a 50 acre family farm that has become a Demonstration Farm partner with the Alliance. The farm has one hoophouse growing bell peppers & beans along with a mix of field crops and flowers.
Keith Benson told our group “This is Blessed Ground. Listen to the land, that’s how we learned everything. Work together and learn to grow sustainably, using certified organic practices. It will help you grow healthy foods, families, markets and your own labor force. Just start teaching one kid!” Keith spoke with passion about farming and foods throughout the farm tour, telling folks that “if only the wealthy take advantage of this sustainable agriculture wave, us poor and people of color are going to miss out on a golden opportunity!” We heartily agree.
The Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production is just a few years old, but they host sustainable farming workshops one Friday of each month, working to educate themselves, the Alliance and their neighbors. Ms. Matties’ family cooking is not to be missed nor wasted!
The ASAP schedule for their upcoming workshops is:
July 19th Friday (10:00am - 4:30pm) -Farm and Food Safety, Post Harvest Handling and Traceability.
August 16th (10:00am - 4:30pm) - Risk Management and Insurance.
September 20th 10:00am - 4:30pm) - Growing Fall Crops.
October 18th (10:00am - 4:30pm) - Planning: How to Plan a Profit and Produce It, Recordkeeping, Farm Labor, Equipment, and Inputs.
November 15th (10:00am - 4:30pm) - Preparation for Spring Planting, Crop Nutrient Management, Pest and Weed Control, Crop Rotation, Fall Cover Crops, and Soil Testing.
December 13th (10:00am - 4:30pm) - Crop Selection/Seed Acquisition for Spring Planting, Equipment Maintenance, Selection, and Acquisition.
If you are interested in joining the Alliance or attending their trainings, RSVP Keith Benson, at 601-988-4999 or email him.