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.
Aug 9, 2013

Empowering Young Women to Lead

SSL participants in a teambuilding activity
SSL participants in a teambuilding activity

This summer, 50 young Moldovan women gained leadership skills and enhanced their self-confidence and knowledge about domestic violence and human trafficking during the annual Summer School of Leadership (SSL), co-organized by Winrock and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Moldova. In addition, participants learned about available educational and job opportunities and resources, acquired basic employment and entrepreneurship skills, and discussed political and social issues in the country.

Moldova’s Minister of Labor, Social Protection and Family attended SSL and spoke to participants about the  importance of building a society in which men and women are equal and domestic violence is eliminated. The Minister and other speakers encouraged the young women to get involved in decision-making processes in their communities and to actively participate in efforts to prevent and eliminate domestic violence. The important role that men and boys play in promoting gender equality was also highlighted. Many of the young women who participated in SSL expressed commitment to lead activities in their communities to address social issues, using the skills and techniques they learned this summer. As one participant noted, “I became more confident in myself [as a result of the SSL]. In the future I want to speak in front of people. I believe that if I apply the knowledge gained at the Summer School I will become a true leader.” In November, participants will reconvene to present the progress of their  activities and share their experiences.

In addition to leadership and prevention activities like SSL, in its first year, ADVANCE provided services to over 100 survivors of domestic violence and women at risk, and reached over 450 people in rural villages through Mobile Technical Units.  On behalf of Winrock and our partners in the ADVANCE project, we thank donors for their generous support. To date we have raised over $1,100, thanks to individuals like you. Stay tuned for more updates!

Jul 31, 2013

NGFN Webinars, Summer 2013

NGFN’s monthly webinars are a great way for us to provide technical assistance to practitioners creating a food system with more Good Food, and to share our work with the public.

The NGFN Food Hub Collaboration is a partnership between Wallace Center at Winrock International, USDA, National Good Food Network, and others. The Collaboration is working to ensure the success of existing and emerging food hubs in the US by building capacity through connection, outreach, research, technical assistance and partnerships. By supporting this crucial player in the value chain we aim to accelerate the growth of regional food systems that make healthy and affordable food available to all communities while fostering viable markets of scale for regionally focused producers.

Most recently, we collaborated on two national food hub studies, through which we identified and measured the financial sustainability of food hubs across the country, and researched the overall state of food hubs in the U.S. We are pleased to present the results of these studies in the following upcoming webinars (and don’t forget to check out our archives)!

Coming up:

Pathways to Food Hub Success: Financial Benchmark Metrics and Measurements for Regional Food Hubs – August 15 – Register now!
Food Hubs strengthen regional food systems by supplying local foods to schools, hospitals, restaurants and other institutions, as well as directly to consumers.  Their aggregation, sales, and distribution activity increases farm-gate demand for local foods, creating new markets for small producers. But are food hubs economically sustainable?  Can food hubs do well by doing good?

This webinar will describe the lessons learned from the recent benchmarking study of food hub financial and operational characteristics.   The presentation will highlight how successful food hubs across the nation have achieved their mission and goals through financial and business metrics.  

Understanding this landmark study will benefit all manner of people interested in regional food systems: food hub operators will be able to identify performance standards and improvement strategies; farmers will gain a better understanding of their ability to access new markets through food hubs; researchers and local food advocacy organizations will benefit from the business-based analysis of food hub functions and operational issues; and private lenders and public sector funders will gain insight on strategic investment strategies for food hubs that will lead to positive economic and sustainable outcomes.

State of the Food Hub - National Survey Results – September 19 – Register now!
NGFN Food Hub Collaboration, including Michigan State University, USDA Agricultural marketing Service and the Wallace Center surveyed over 100 food hubs across the country to understand their businesses, their impacts, their challenges and their innovations. This webinar accompanies the release of the full report on the state of food hubs in the US today. Register now!

Food Hubs and Farm to School – October 17 – Register now!
Farm to school programs have been very successful at getting good, healthy, local, whole foods to our nation's students. But it can be difficult to add aggregation logistics on top of already-taxed school food service professionals. Food hubs hold great promise for bridging that gap. Join us for some inspiring examples of successful food hub-assisted farm to school programs.

And from the archives:

June 20, 2013: Raising Dough for Food Businesses – View the Recording

Lack of access to capital can be one of the most significant problems for food businesses. There are more types of capital than ever before to support food businesses, but many don't know they exist, the resources can be challenging to access and even more, it’s hard to tell which type will be the best for each business.

Elizabeth Ü, author of the new book “Raising Dough” (order now), provides a helpful framework for thinking about appropriate financing sources for  enterprises, sensitive to their unique values, priorities, and where they are in the business lifecycle. Her presentation is designed primarily for organizations that work with socially responsible food businesses, such as people who work for nonprofits, government offices, economic development companies, consulting firms, lenders, foundations, family offices. Of course the same principles apply to fundraising entrepreneurs themselves, who will leave with lots of tools to work with in their quest to raise money.

Gray Harris, of Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI), a community development finance institution (CDFI) in Maine, joins the conversation to give some detailed, illustrative examples of their investments, and investment strategies in regional food systems.

May 16, 2013: Starting a Food Hub: Successful Hubs Share Their Stories – View the Recording

Food hubs hold great promise for a myriad of positive community impacts – economic development and job creation, farmland preservation, environmental sustainability... the list goes on.

But how do you start a food hub?

This webinar brings together the stories of the formation and first year of three different, successful food hubs. Our presenters share some of the best decisions they made … and some of the worst. What types of contacts did they feel really helped their business to thrive? How much money did they need, and how did they get it? Why did they choose their incorporation status? And more...

If you are an emerging hub - in the planning stages - or work with groups who are considering forming a food hub, please listen to this webinar for inspiration and instruction.

Jul 29, 2013

Edie's Village

Opening in late August, the El Dorado Incubator Environment (EDIE) will be a retail business accelerator that provides the framework and support for a student-run business and accompanying retail space for the student business, recent Operation Jump Start graduates, and other AWBC clients throughout Arkansas.

This low cost, low risk endeavor will give start-up businesses a safe, efficient, and effective way to “test the waters” for their products. EDIE’s Village will work in conjunction with existing entrepreneurship programs as a means to enhance Arkansas’s entrepreneurial climate.

Your contribution to the AWBC allows us to continue to make dreams of business ownership a reality for women in Arkansas. Women across the state learn skills and tools to make their business venture a success.

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