Veterans and Small Farmers Outreach Program (VeSFO)

Workshop Schedule Past Events Farm Apprenticeship Who are socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers? Resources

The Florida International University’s Veteran and Small Farmers Outreach Program (VeSFO) is an important initiative of the newly established Catalyst for Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture (CASA). This program is looking to enhance the sustainability of farm operations of veterans, socially disadvantaged, and new farmers in South Florida. The program is funded by the USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach under the 2501 Program for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran farmers. This is a collaboration between the FIU CASA and Redland Ahead, Inc., which is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving veterans interested in entering into farming, and supporting FIU in its role as a USDA-designated Hispanic Serving Agricultural College and University.

Click HERE to find who socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers are

Who we serve: Florida has large numbers of socially disadvantaged farmers. As per the 2012 USDA Agricultural Census, over 10,000 operators have been farming for less than ten years; over 4,000 are Hispanic; and 745 are women. The majority of these minority farmers are concentrated in Southeast Florida. In addition, over 60,000 who became veterans during 2008 to 2012 live in Miami Dade County, according to the US Census, and a high unemployment rate displays veteran’s difficulty to find an adequate source of income According to the Coalition of Florida Farmworkers Organizations, there is an emerging trend in Miami Dade of farm workers leasing land and cultivating on the side while working for their landowners. Farmworkers want to leverage their (existing) farming experience to access land, and increase their income.

Our Goal: The long term goal of the project is to equip the above groups of individuals with necessary technical know-how, farm entrepreneurial skills, and most importantly, increased access to government assistance programs so that they will launch and/or sustain viable farm operations

What we do: Farm Assistance and Technical Workshops that will train small farmers, particularly underserved farmers and veteran farmers, on how to gain access to USDA assistance and grants programs, and on general technical and business aspects of farming. These workshops are FREE. See the schedule HERE.If you do not see a topic you need help with please email nidelaro@fiu.edu to suggest a workshop

One-on-One Advice. We are available at our Redlands office to assist you with applications for loans and grants from the USDA Farm Service Agency and Farm Credit Administration, and programs from other USDA agencies such as the Rural Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service. Please contact us for an appointment

Farm Apprenticeship for new farmers. We are looking for prospective farmers for an intense, up to $1000 paid training in agri-business in South Florida and farm management. For programs details, schedule, and application form click HERE For additional information, please email agroecology@fiu.edu or call 305-348-1902

or click one of the links below.

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