In December 2018, Stone Barns Center hosted the inaugural Entrepreneurship Intensive for Farmers. Designed in partnership with UC Berkeley professor Will Rosenzweig, the immersive weeklong program gave mid-career farmers the opportunity to apply principles of entrepreneurship to building environmentally and financially sustainable farm operations. The cohort of 18 participating farmers came from 12 U.S. states, Canada and Puerto Rico, and specialized in all types of farming from rooftops to grains, flowers to tropical agroecology. As a group, they actively steward over 1,300 acres of farmland.
The ‘farmpreneurs’ in the program made connections through exercises like ecosystem mapping, which helped them identify untapped opportunities and unmet needs in their farming communities. In another session focused on the applying the Creative Tension Model to their farming businesses, each participant accessed the gap between their vision and current reality, while also defining pathways to success. After a week of intensive work, the farmers presented their regenerative business plans to a panel of guest experts, and the dialogue generated shed light on the vibrant network that was beginning to form in support of this group.
Participants affirmed that the program helped them make major strides toward defining their entrepreneurial visions:
Ben Whalen, Co-Owner of Bumbleroot Organic Farm in Maine: “[the program] truly empowered me to take big steps in growing my business by thinking strategically with a regenerative, growth mindset.”
Nikiko Masumoto, partner in Masumoto Family Farm in California: “I am departing so incredibly nourished — physically, emotionally, mentally, and energetically. Some of the magic for me came from the thoughtful curation of the group, the intensity of the program content matched with holistic delivery. I have never experienced a week quite like this in my life… I will be digesting this experience for months to come and I sense this will be a point that will influence the course of the rest of my life.”
Read more about the 2018 “Farmpreneurs” here.