Gardens of Hope

Smart Farms

Smart Farms

Providence International’s primary goal is employing the unemployed and providing an onramp to a future with hope, both internationally and domestically. In Northern California, Providence Smart Farms achieves this goal by clustering land and human resources, creating fair-wage, entry-level opportunities.

By creating opportunities for individuals in new and existing markets, Providence offers a replicable, scalable, and sustainable business model. By planting seeds, so to speak, both globally and locally, the organization is providing full-service support systems and technologies. Please click here to view and download a PDF outline of the smart farm program. 

California Agricultural Facts

“Agriculture was responsible for creating 57,005 jobs in Northeastern CA in 2012 (16% of all jobs and 20% of all private sector jobs).  This includes 38,013 jobs directly in agriculture and an additional 18,991 jobs created through multiplier (indirect and induced) effects. Net farm income has increased by over 550% from 2000 to 2011 while total government payments have decreased by over 50%.”

– The Contribution of Agriculture to Northeastern California’s Economy in 2012, A Report by The Agribusiness Institute, College of Agriculture, California State University, Chico, Dr. Erick Houk, May 2014.

In the United States, the California’s Northern Region ranks:

  • 1st in aquaculture, forage and pheasants
  • 2nd in English walnuts, rice, Christmas trees, grains, oilseeds, dry beans and dry peas
  • Top 10 in US regions for production of nearly all other major food and livestock groups

– Reports From the 2012 Census of Agriculture (USDA): California Congressional District 1 (Counties of Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity, Butte, Del Norte, Humboldt)

Agricultural Cluster Enterprises (ACE)

Cluster Development: The creation of strong local agricultural networks, including producers, processors, and distributors, depends on reliable connections. The limiting factor for farmers wishing to sell their products to local markets is whether purchasers will choose them over low-cost providers from afar. Ideally, food purchasing incorporates resilient local networks that, operating profitably, effectively respond to changing market conditions.

“If Shasta-Lassen County residents purchased $5.00 of food for home use directly from local farmers each week it would generate $89,000,000 of new farm income for the Northern California Region.

— Ken Meter, Crossroads Resource Center

Four Problems

  1. Ag of the Middle: Local food production has a sub-optimal impact on the regional economy: our people, our heritage, our resources, and our productivity. 
  2. Cluster Enterprises: New agricultural production is stymied, and market access restricted, without the efficiency of local economic clusters.
  3. Agricultural Food Distribution: Logistical food system inefficiencies pose multifaceted problems within our sparsely populated Northern California Region.
  4. Effective Altruism: Regional wealth and philanthropy are disconnected from local food production, the farming economy, and charitable food distribution.

Three Solutions

While not simple, the solutions integrate the local community, private assets, and public assets into a system of localized prosperity focused on farming and food heritage.

  1. Clusters:Enabling agriculture and enterprise clusters with a value chain coordinator
  2. Capital: Using a social enterprise model, bolster the food and farming economies via public and private resources
  3. Metrics:Evaluate novel distribution, production, and marketing models, measuring and reporting on their collective impact

Seven Opportunities

  1. Expanding Markets: As food production increases, markets expand.
  2. New Jobs Created: Expanding markets create new opportunities.
  3. Healthy Food Produced: Fresh, local, and sustainably harvested food.
  4. Value Added to Relationships: As people trade, relationships expand.
  5. New Dollars for Shasta County: With commerce, comes new resources.
  6. Productive Land and Human Resources: Utilizing nature and people.
  7. Increased Participation from Area Donors: More activity, more donations.

““Institutional food purchasing should be framed around the formation and maintenance of resilient locally-based, socially-affirming, professional business networks.”

— Ken Meter & Megan Goldenberg, Crossroads Resource Center


Robert L. Hancock, Founder & President, Providence International | | phone 530-243-3373 | cell 530-949-4199

Kyle Dall,  Chief of Operations,  Providence Smart Farms  kyle[@] | phone 530-722-8349

Shannon Burke, Providence Chief Technology Officer    tech[@]                    

Fred A. Schluep, Providence Smart Farms Marketing Advisor | | phone 530-736-4964 |


Ken Meter: Mount Shasta/Mount Lassen Region Local Farm and Food Economy, July 12, 2012. Crossroads Resource Center.

Dr David Gatewood, Shasta College Dean of Economic and Workforce Development and Providence Advisor
Dr. Erick Houk: The Contribution of Agriculture to Northeastern California’s Economy in 2014, A Report by The Agribusiness Institute, College of Agriculture, California State University, Chico, June 2016.

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