Southwest Farm Fresh co-hosting two workshops in Mancos

The Southwest Farm Fresh Cooperative is co-hosting two workshops in February for beginning and expanding farmers and ranchers in partnership with the Colorado Tourism Office, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Guidestone Colorado.

The workshops will take place at the Mount Lookout Grange in Mancos on Feb. 24 and 25. Pre-registration for both workshops is required at www.GuidestoneColorado.org.

“This exciting initiative is not only an investment in the next generation of farmers and ranchers but in the future of our state’s agricultural and agritourism economy too,” said Elizabeth O’Rear, manager of the tourism office’s Heritage and Agritourism Program.

The training is available through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The three-year initiative will develop a coordinated education and mentorship program to help train early farmers and prepare them to enter emerging wholesale and agritourism markets.

The project entails three main activities: courses and Guidestone coaching to help plan the future for these new businesses; business scaling workshops orchestrated by the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative Development Center on Feb. 25 in concert with the Southwest Farm Fresh Cooperative; and expansion of a mentorship program for beginning producers.

“Beginning producers in rural and remote areas often have limited marketing options available to them,” said Dan Hobbs, cooperative specialist at the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. “That’s why this multiyear cooperative project is so important, to facilitate new choices.”