This financial risk management education project supported current and aspiring commercial urban farmers in the Baltimore and Washington, DC metro regions to move from crisis-management to proactive risk management. In our prior work with urban farmers, we had observed their struggle with this transition. Many farmers get overwhelmed by the daily challenges of farming, spending their time seeking short-term financial solutions to keep their urban farms afloat. The goal of this project was to help urban farmers use risk management strategies to move from survival mode to a more proactive understanding of what their farm needs to thrive.
Our primary implementation tools were to (1) compile a first edition guidebook for urban farmers in Maryland, (2) convene five focus groups (21 participants) to gather farmer input, (3) offer six Farmer Field Schools (41 participants) at urban farms to pilot our educational materials, and (4) launch the guide in both hard-copy and online formats.
The resulting guidebook resource has already been distributed to focus group participants and co-authors, and will be distributed to urban farmers at the 3rd annual Urban Farmer Winter Meeting in Baltimore, MD. A digital version of the guidebook is available online here: https://extension.umd.edu/urbanag/urban-agriculture-guidebook