Taylor Hood Farms

DYG UP/Sustain offers an opportunity for youth, ages 14-17, to learn and practice the skills needed to get and keep jobs while learning the basic trade of food production. Students aren’t ready for the workplace because they don’t have important soft skills or knowledge of basic business operations. Surveys of local employers state that this is a major barrier to employment for these young adults. A small farm is a simple business model for students to learn how a business operates and the employee’s role in that operation. Taking responsibility for farm tasks and interacting with the Farm Manager, the Program Director, and the customers offers opportunities to learn and practice critical soft skills. All of this in a positive, healthy setting that has documented therapeutic benefits. Our program will benefit, directly and indirectly, many members of the Mesilla Valley community: employers and small business owners; the Las Cruces Public School system; New Mexico State University students; local farmers who want to learn about small scale, organic growing systems; and our youth participants, many of whom are from alternative schools or the Juvenile Detention Center. This transitional business plan details the needs and objectives of the farm and the job skills program. The current farm operation has a three-year history and sells all of its production. This plan includes the Roots of Success Environmental Literacy Curriculum.