Windy City Harvest Industry-Specific 14-Week Courses
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.