Suzanne’s Project, or Suzan’ın Projesi is named after Suzanne Brumfield Yavuz, a passionate advocate for education, sustainable food, farming and gender equality—just like her mother, Robin Brumfield, Ph.D. Suzanne has roots in Turkey and in the state of New Jersey (where the project model was inspired), and will one day inherit a farm in Kentucky that used to produce tobacco. Her father is Turkish and her mother is American. Suzanne grew up in New Jersey, visited her two sets of grandparents every summer in rural Kentucky and urban Istanbul, and speaks English, Turkish, and French. While a sophomore at Westfield High School, she created and taught an English course to children from earthquake ridden Duzce, Turkey. Suzanne is a senior majoring in Communication at Rutgers University.
Using Business Plans to Empower Women Who Manage Horticultural Businesses
in New Jersey and Turkey
Robin Brumfield, Ph.D., gave this presentation during the 2012 American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Conference in Miami. The mission of two Rutgers led projects is to empower women who own horticultural businesses by giving them several sessions of business management training with a focus on developing a business plan throughout the training. While Annie’s Project originated in the mid-west where agronomic crops are the primary agricultural crops, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the U.S. with higher land and labor costs and more regulations than other states. With New Jersey farmers working in such a competitive environment, the project team decided that it would require every Annie's Project New Jersey program participant to complete a business plan.
Inspired by the early success of Annie’s Project New Jersey, Rutgers University partnered with Akdeniz University in Antalya, Turkey to develop Suzanne’s Project in the Antalya province of Turkey. This project provides specialized training in business management, computer skills, and best management production practices to help Turkish women who operate small vegetable greenhouses and citrus orchards pursue opportunities to improve their farm businesses by creating a business plan throughout the course.
Lessons learned from each program have been used to improve the other while adapting to local conditions. Now, all of the women in both locations have completed parts of a business plan, and most of them have plans to finish their plans.
for Enterprising Women Farmers
Written, Narrated and Photographed by Mick Minard
Photo Credit: Mick Minard
A pilot program was conducted by a Rutgers-led
partnership to train 40 Turkish women farmers who are
small-scale citrus and tomato greenhouse producers took place in
Kumluca, Turkey, from Oct. 24 to Nov. 18, 2011.
Suzanne’s Project was inspired by the impact of Annie’s Project, a
nationally recognized risk management educational program for female
farmers operating in the United States.
Robin Brumfield, Ph.D., New Jersey’s
Annie’s Project leader and extension specialist in farm management at
Rutgers, and Mick Minard, photographer and communications strategy
consultant with an expertise in reporting the impact of market-based
strategies for social change, formed a partnership with Akdeniz
University in Antalya, Turkey. This partnership adapted the Annie’s Project model to train Turkish women farmers on the basic skills and best
practices necessary for them to sustain and scale profitable
“Women currently account for approximately 45%
of Turkey's agricultural workforce,” said Brumfield. “We implemented Suzanne’s Project in recognition of women farmers as critical
agents for enhancing agricultural and rural development and food
security in Turkey.”
As part of the project, Brumfield and team provided specialized training in business management, information
technologies, alternative production systems, soil productivity, plant
nutrition and other topics which helped women farmers pursue opportunities to
start new ventures, upgrade or improve existing businesses, expand
their customer base or enter new markets.
The mission of the project is to recognize and develop the technical and managerial capacities of Turkish women farmers through specialized training in business management skills and new production methods, while supporting the region’s socio-economic advancement toward gender equality and sustainable agricultural development.
The objectives of each pilot project is
to examine the participants' socio-economic status, obtain a better
understanding of their farming system and determine their level of
interest in improved production technologies, business planning and
management strategies, and to demonstrate new tools for best farm
Brumfield and Minard traveled to Antlaya in September to conduct a needs
assessment and preliminary feasibility study to determine the scope and
program of Suzanne’s Project. They worked in
partnership with Burhan Ozkan, professor in the Department of
Agricultural Economics and coordinator for Bologna Process Coordination
Office at Akdeniz University, Bedrullah Ercin, provincial director of
food, agriculture and livestock in Antalya Province and a select team of
agricultural extension educators working at the Ministry of Food,
Agriculture and Livestock.
The team conducted a survey to identify priority
needs, interests and current capacities of women farmers in the area.
By enabling each woman to participate actively in her own development,
the results from the initial survey helped to determine the final
training program and pilot location for the project.
The intended impact of Suzanne’s Project is measured by the women's ability to
use agricultural and enterprise skills to calculate and manage the risks
of changing their patterns and methods of production. In addition, they
are evaluated on improvements in their business practices and
enterprise planning skills, with emphasis on their ability to take
advantage of new or growing markets. This is an indication that women farmers
have begun to think entrepreneurially, they have analyzed their situation and
identified income-generating, cost-saving and environmentally sound
Empowering Turkish Women Farmers Rutgers University Students to Study Farming in Boztepe, Turkey 2013
Credit: Fazil Hesse-Nassau
The Empowering Turkish Women Farmers program will be a new offering in the growing list of summer International Service Learning Programs through the Rutgers Study Abroad Program. This Study Abroad program builds on Suzanne’s Project, an already existing partnership between Rutgers University, Akdeniz University, and the Provincial Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, which was launched in Antalya, Turkey in September 2011. Students will work on the farms in Botepe, Turkey and interview the women farmers, as well as observe and assist with Suzanne's Project classes. Click Here To Learn More
Credit: Mick Minard
From left, Sebahat Kilinc, a farmer in the village of Elmali, Turkey, is interviewed by Rutgers professor Robin Brumfield and Professor Burhan Ozkan of Akdeniz University, Turkey.
Click on the schedule below to see agenda for the history of Suzanne's Project, Risk Assessment, Business Plan, IPM in the Greenhouse and more.
“Building Capacity Among Global Rural Women”
Mick Minard is a photographer and communications designer who uses visual journalism to report on global investment opportunities that are socially, environmentally and financially attractive. As Impact Advisor and Strategic Communications Director for Suzanne's Project in Turkey, she led an “Interactive Forum: Building Capacity Among Global Rural Women” held on March 1, 2012 which coincided with the 56th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. After her opening remarks, she gave a presentation on Suzanne’s Project — a joint project between Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and Akdeniz University in Antalya, Turkey.Mick Minard is a photographer and communications designer who uses visual journalism to report on global investment opportunities that are socially, environmentally and financially attractive. As Impact Advisor and Strategic Communications Director for Suzanne's Project in Turkey, she led an “Interactive Forum: Building Capacity Among Global Rural Women” held on March 1, 2012 which coincided with the 56th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. After her opening remarks, she gave a presentation on Suzanne’s Project — a joint project between Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and Akdeniz University in Antalya, Turkey.