Windy City Harvest
Industry-Specific 14-Week Courses

Season-Extension

September 9, 2014 – December 10, 2014
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 – 8 p.m.
Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Avenue

This course is intended for aspiring urban-agriculture entrepreneurs and individuals who are interested in learning best practice season-extension techniques. The course has been designed for individuals who already have a firm foundation in sustainable urban growing techniques. This course will combine classroom and hands-on work to prepare students to effectively utilize season extension in their existing urban-agriculture projects. This course is a technical training course. It will involve farm work activities in all weather conditions. Students are expected to be prepared to work indoors and outdoors throughout the duration of the course.

Topics and activities will include but are not limited to:

  • Crop planning and selection for season extension in both spring and fall, in-ground and raised beds
  • High tunnel, low tunnel, and cold frame production, construction, and installation
  • Fertility, watering, venting, harvesting, and post-harvest handling for season extension
  • Overwintering crops and varieties
  • Marketing and pricing crops on shoulder season and throughout the winter
  • Field trips to urban and peri-urban farms utilizing season-extension techniques
  • Guest lecturers from urban and peri-urban farmers
  • Hands-on production experience/living lab growing in WCH low tunnels and high tunnels

Students will create a season-extension crop plan for an existing farm site. Guest speakers and activities designed to support the creation of a crop plan will be incorporated into lessons. The final project is presenting a season-extension crop plan as well as submitting a completed written crop plan.

Business and Entrepreneurship for Local Foods 

September 22, 2014 – December 10, 2014
Mondays and Wednesdays, 6 – 8 p.m.
Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Avenue

This course is intended for aspiring urban-agriculture entrepreneurs who are launching or planning to launch a local foods business. The course has been designed for those practicing sustainable urban agriculturalists who want to produce vegetable crops and agricultural products for sale in commercial markets. Course content has been developed in partnership with an M.B.A. team from DePaul University. Topics covered include:

  • Direct and indirect marketing of produce through channels such as co-ops, CSAs, restaurants, and other markets
  • Crop enterprise budgeting and accounting
  • Pricing and promotion in urban agriculture
  • Financing for small farms and food businesses
  • Land access and leases
  • Food-industry-specific business licensing issues

This course requires acceptance based on your local foods business plan concept and initial pitch. You will have an opportunity to pitch your business plan concept on August 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. to the program instructor and staff.  There will also be a business model canvas activity day for accepted students on September 15 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Students must commit to one local foods business model to create a business plan for the entire 14-week course. Guest speakers and activities designed to support the creation of a business plan will be incorporated into lessons. The final project is pitching a local foods business plan as well as submitting a completed written business plan.