Hello folks, Dorothy Feltner (Americorps VISTA) reporting in.

I had an amazing and productive experience at the Brushy Fork Annual Institute last week. The Social Enterprise track was very fruitful to my plan for Lotts Creek Community School’s school garden site. My original assignment for the site was to facilitate transfer of produce and gain volunteers, but I think the site can be much more than that! I mentioned to the director of Lotts Creek Community School, Alice Whitaker, that we could turn the site into a learning market garden and she liked the idea. I took the approval and ran with it at Brushy Fork with the Social Enterprise track. Now I have a starting business model, a basis for some research to be performed through my graduate projects, and many helpful contacts. I’m a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, through an online M.S. program in Sustainable Management. This will give me access to more professional opinions as I perform research to benefit Lotts Creek Community School. Things are continuing to come together in a variety ways since I have started this work. The business model I’m currently operating with is very much a prototype to be tested and next growing season will be the perfect opportunity. Lotts Creek Learning Garden is the brand name I have given it. The plan is to use this learning garden as a place where people can learn how to operate a small scale garden for market while raking in some money for the garden program as well as creating a few jobs,  namely a garden manager position. During the winter months I will be researching and projecting costs, inputs, outputs, production rates, marketing models, funding options, partnerships, etc. I’m very excited to see what I find out.