Farm Incubator Project
We provide small farm business training and support.
Seattle Tilth is partnering with Burst for Prosperity to help refugees, immigrants and other low-income individuals overcome obstacles to creating small farming businesses.
We are creating a regional “farm incubator” at Red Barn Ranch called the United People’s Farm. The goal of this program is to help individuals and families become financially independent, apply their experience to farming and other related businesses and increase farmland and access to healthy local food.
What’s a “Farm Incubator”?
The program consists of a education, training and support in the creating a farm business. Participants develop a viable business plan, negotiate a lease agreement and learn about the organic certification process. Participating farmers receive one-on-one support for tasks essential to the operation of a successful small farm.
At the heart of this project is the idea that participating farmers learn best by actually operating a small farm in a supportive environment. This learn-by-doing concept has already been proven successful at other nationally recognized agricultural small farm and new farmer trainings.
This Program Provides
- Access to land at subsidized rates
- A comprehensive educational program covering farming, business planning, operations and marketing
- On-site mentorship from experienced farmers
- Access to equipment, water and other necessary farming inputs
- Assistance in creating marketing channels for products
Creating a Business Training Model
Following a Seattle Tilth guided training plan using current farm incubator curriculum from ALBA (Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association), Growing Power in Milwaukee, Washington State University and others, first year farmers have access to small plots of about ¼ acre.
The plot sizes increase based on success as participating farmers demonstrate competency with business plan, farming and marketing successes. Once a farmer feels ready to farm independently, Seattle Tilth staff will provide assistance in finding appropriate land, ongoing educational opportunities, technical assistance and support to access markets.
Increasing Healthy Food and Farmland
In addition to helping refugees, immigrants and other low-income individuals create a better life for themselves through their own enterprise and industry, the Farm Incubator Program also facilitates access to and consumption of healthy foods in the low-income communities of which these farmers are a part.
Another benefit that we anticipate is an increase in agricultural land which is currently decreasing. Farmland is put back into production as farmers graduate from the Incubator and start their own farming operations.