Over the past two years, my non-profit organization (called the NEXT Steps Youth Entrepreneur Program) has been trying to create The Holistic Food Systems Land Trust and Cooperative Network (HFSN). HFSN’s mission is to provide access for university and continuing education systems in logistics, supply and environmental studies – integrating year-round, real-time applications of social entrepreneurial best practices with urban agritourism, destination management, environmental stewardship, nature-based recreation, culinary arts & media programs.
Since acquiring the land lease at Atwood Community Gardens & Urban Farm, NEXT Steps has been able to create a beautiful 3.5 acre demonstration model that embodies the potential of the HFSN mission. (The 2012 Food Commons market analysis best represents the collective strategy behind HFSN.) By using our most powerful tool, our signature Community Involvement Growth Strategy (CIGS) Strategic Organizational Development Model, we have been able to demonstrate an infrastructure, governance, and communications management system that is easy to teach to children and adults, transfer in decentralized locations, duplicate with precision and explain in simple terms. The CIGS Model also provided a simple yet elegant landscape that illustrates the entire operation of an organization, its leaders, their roles and the extent of their responsibilities. Now, we are ready to implement the next phase of our growth plan.
A partnership with the permaculture community will allow us to start hosting community discussions that will purposely fuel social entrepreneurial ventures within this new urban agritourism industry we’re creating in Southwest Atlanta, DeKalb, Fayette and Henry Counties and ultimately abroad. Our community discussions will be based upon the 12 Permaculture Principles. In addition, the HFSN will create opportunities for social entrepreneurs within regional food hub industries that include: warehousing, aggregation, distribution, processing, training, education, accounting, marketing, value chain management, and S.T.E.M. career pathways (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) . This includes teaching them strategic planning and business development skills as well as how to incorporate the CIGS Model into their businesses so they can successfully plug into the Holistic Food System Network.
Beginning April 6, 2013, with our Global LEAD community partners, we will host monthly community discussions that highlight individual permaculture principles -- giving us a 12 month themed-calendar to focus on -- inviting guests whose message and mission are synonymous with each theme.