by Mike Rosso
Guidestone, who is helping move the Upper Arkansas Valley into the 21st century with their Land-Link initiative and other farm and agriculture-based programs, has big goals for the future.
Guidestone looks to increase its educational offerings by organizing a Beginning Farmer Training Program through the Land-Link Initiative. The program will assist young farmers to develop their skills around building a successful farm business and would include such classes as financial planning, market strategies, production techniques and food policy. They intend to develop an internship and mentoring program that will give on-farm training for new farmers that seek hands-on experiences before launching their own farm enterprise. In the long run, Guidestone seeks to create farmland access for next generation farmers by holding title or lease to agricultural lands to preserve them in perpetuity and then sub-lease these properties to next generation farmers for local food production. The organization anticipates working with the local land trust organization, the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas, to create affordable access to farmland for this purpose.