Winrock International

Winrock International is a nonprofit organization that works with people in the United States and around the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources. Winrock matches innovative approaches in agriculture, natural resources management, clean energy and leadership development with the unique needs of its partners. By linking local individuals and communities with new ideas and technology, Winrock is increasing long-term productivity, equity and responsible resource management to benefit the poor and disadvantaged of the world.
Jan 13, 2014

Spring Food Hub Webinars

The National Good Food Network is hosting a great line-up of webinars this spring, beginning with a webinar with Wholesome Wave Investments: “Getting Your Bucks in a Row - the Food Hub Due Diligence Toolkit” on Thursday, February 20 3:30-4:45pm EST. Register now!

The Healthy Food Commerce Investments program of Wholesome Wave has been studying food hubs, and the viability of several individual hubs. This webinar presents a distillation of their work - what makes a solid, invest-able hub business? One key element of food hubs is that they are businesses. Food hub managers, potential investors, and food hub supporters will all benefit hugely from this work, and this presentation.

And don’t forget about the Food Hub Conference March 26-28 in North Carolina! The conference will feature multiple tracks for food hub managers and staff; networking and learning for support organizations, consultants and agencies; "Ask an Expert" - slots of one-on-one time to dig deep with various technical assistance experts; food hub and food business tours; opportunities to learn from your peers, network, and feel a part of an incredibly energetic community; and excellent local food from Eastern Carolina Organics, Firsthand Foods, and other local suppliers.

Webinars from the archives:

Food Banks as Regional "Good Food" Partners
As we look to scale up the amount of healthy, fair and sustainable local and regional food in our food system, it becomes increasingly important to have storage and delivery mechanisms capable of getting the food to consumers. This infrastructure is very expensive, and the logistics required for efficient use of the resources is very complex.

Food banks across the country have trucks and warehouse space, including cold storage, and have been solving the logistics problem for decades, however traditionally with commodity food, often processed. This is beginning to change.

Several food banks across the country are acutely aware of the benefits of fresh, local food to their consumers, and their community, and are leveraging their resources to support local/regional food systems in innovative ways. Presentations from FoodLink in New York, the Sacramento Food Bank and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.

Assessment Tools for Improving Farmer Financial Skills
Farming is a business, but many farmers are not familiar with many of the tools available to manage their farm finances. The first crucial step to intelligent financial decisions is assessing your current situation, and understanding your historical trends.

This webinar focuses on three assessment-centered tools and programs. First, a tool for farmer trainers themselves - to assess the strengths of the trainer’s knowledge as well as assess students’ knowledge at the outset and their subsequent progress. Second, how Annie's Project, a highly successful program for women farmers, integrates such an assessment tool as a part of the curriculum. And third, an entry level training tool that walks farmers through farm business cash flow analysis in an approachable way.

Assessment is not the end goal of beginning farmer training.  However, assessment is fundamental to the success of financial skills education by providing a measurable feedback loop for improvement, adjustment, and documentation of effectiveness.

Jan 2, 2014

Purple Turtle Gallery: A Testimonial

Purple Turtle Gallery, Pocahontas, Arkansas
Purple Turtle Gallery, Pocahontas, Arkansas

About 13 years ago, I went to Key West for the first time. While we were there, I went into a photography gallery that really impressed me. It was very casual and informal; not formal and stuffy. I remember how much I really enjoyed looking at the photographs displayed. I remember thinking, THIS is what I want someday…. a casual gallery, where I can display my photographs, art prints, and custom frame other people’s art and photography. Someday… I would open my own gallery.

Two years ago, I got caught in a layoff and decided…this could be the kick in the pants to get me started on my someday dream!  I took a framing class in Texas and bought some equipment and started custom framing in the spare room bedroom of my house. 

There were two problems with that…..

#1- It NEVER stayed in the spare room.
#2- I had no visibility. 

I was ready to take my business to the next level but didn’t know where to go from there. In the fall of 2012, I took the Operation JumpStart class that Black River Technical College and the Arkansas Women’s Business Center was offering. It was a very intense 6 week (2 nights a week) evening class. The class was very informative and helpful. The homework was thorough and forced you to stretch outside your comfort zone. It showed us exactly what we needed to do to open our own business or take an existing business to the next level. We had guest speakers which included bankers, accountants, attorneys, and marketing experts… all of which gave us information we needed. 

I was going through all the homework, exercises and research, and my husband suggested that I rent a place with visibility and operate by appointment. The Purple Turtle has been open for nearly a year. We are open by appointment, and for Stroll the Square and festivals. I’m also usually open a couple nights a week and Saturday mornings.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity that I had through the JumpStart program. I believe that had I not had this experience along with the “exercises” to learn and work through; I don’t think I’d be open today. If you read the newspaper or watch television at all, opening a new business right now is a very scary thing. You can’t help but wonder if you are a making a good decision. Through taking the course, you are not guaranteed to succeed, but you ARE putting yourself in the position to make an educated decision.

Dec 2, 2013

Women Advising Women Farmers

Women Advising Women Farmers (November 30, 2013)
By Henk Knipscheer - Senior Associate

Since the last update, the Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Fund has made significant progress. During September, five women have received notification of their scholarships awards: three in Mali, one in Ethiopia and one in
Nigeria. The awardees are Mrs. Ayele (Ethiopia), Mrs. Sy (Mali), Mrs. Koné (Mali), Mrs. Traore (Mali) and Mrs.  Bukar (Nigeria). We congratulate the successful candidates.

In early October, during the recent World Prize award ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa, two significant gifts to the Christopher Dowswell Fund were announced: USD $50,000 from Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) and an additional USD $20,000 from Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE). Both organizations are sponsored by the Nippon Foundation. These and other gifts have allowed us to set new and higher fund-raising targets for 2014, with the ultimate goal of reaching more women farmers.

On behalf of Winrock International and the Dowswell family, we thank all donors for their generous support.



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