Improving Lives through Agriculture and Conservation
- Brown Missionary Baptist Church Agriculture Conservation Project is a year-round farm-based, demonstration project, implemented on two acres of property owned and maintained by BMBC. The proposed venture will work in partnership with the ACTS Career Center, Inc and Brown Youth Initiative (BYI). The program will consist of integrated educational activities. Promoting healthy lifestyles, farming, business development, entrepreneurship, and strategic planning of urban farmer markets are the key components of the mission.
- The project will equip youth and other hard-to-employ populations (e.g. the formerly incarcerated) with useful career skills in agriculture and conservation. We will enhance the employment experience by teaching diverse business models, healthy lifestyles, and the importance of community service. The project will provide seasonal and year-round employment for up to 20 position over the next three years. The program season peaks with the summer youth employment and enrichment project; and it will run concurrently with the BMBC-BYI. The plan includes at least 10 volunteers consisting of local famers and members of the community.
- One ‘Seasonal High Tunnel Systems (Hoop Houses)’ will be erected on parcels. A seasonal high tunnel is a polyethylene covered structure (usually around 6 ft. in height and 30 ft x 72 ft in area), which modifies the climate to create more favorable growing conditions. No electrical, mechanical ventilation, or heating system is required. The purpose of the Hoop House is to extend the growing season.
- Vegetables will be grown and packaged according to local food processing and distribution standards. The project will incorporate fresh flowers. Crops and flowers will be sold directly to the community at an urban farmer’s market.
- A percentage of the crops grown will be donated to elderly BMBC members and food missions.
- The entire community will benefit from the BMBC Agriculture and Conservation Project. Our primary goals include: 1) Introduce farming to youth: 2) create jobs and to teach business skills through the development of an urban farmers market 3) to promote healthy eating and lifestyles.
- The youth will learn the practices of planting, soil nutrition, harvesting, and packaging. Pricing, forecasting, marketing, and urban farmer operations are key elements of the entrepreneurial curriculum. This specialized curriculum will be facilitated by academia, business partners, conservationists and volunteer advisors.
- The BMBC Farmer's Market will sell freshly harvested produce to the general public on Wednesday and up to 3 days per week beginning in May. Other local farmers and vendors will be invited to partner with us to sell produce and other farm related goods. Youth will also conduct Agri-tours of the farm to introduce and engage others in the practice of gardening and environmental sustainability.
- The Farmer’s Market will offer a place to spend quality time with family and community. At the market people will meet local farmers, support local small businesses, and purchase freshly harvested nutrient-rich foods.
- We are also seeking partnerships and supplemental funding to contribute to the accelerated success of the program.
Together we can positively impact Desoto County and surrounding areas for years to come. The future is always bright when a community cares and shares with each other.