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[growingsmallfarms] small farm incubator
Thanks to all who have been dialoguing around a post I made regarding CCCC's interest in helping to start a small farm incubator. The comments made have been interesting and instructive.
Small business incubators are often started with the assistance of a college or a university,
to educate and support those just starting out in a new enterprise, whether it be food processing, farming or art as in the local example of the Chatham Arts incubator in Siler City.
CCCC Sustainable Farming Program has been associated with the Small Business Center from the start and has an entrepreneurship (www.ncreal.org) class as a core class in it's curriculum. Small Business Centers are traditionally linked with business incubator ventures around the country.
Other partners in small farm incubators may include cooperative extension
services, community land trusts and other community based organizations.
CCCC Sustainable Farming Program currently addresses the learning and
experiential phase for beginning farmers, an incubator can provide for the
next step. A generation ago that next step could be fulfilled on the family
farm, where the new farmer practiced under the watchful eye of a family
member. Many of todays new farmers are first generation farmers, and the "family" farm has already been sold to the highest bidder.
In a community that values its farmers and farms and enjoys access to local food a small farm incubator can be a great asset. It is not a state agency competing with established farmers, it is a supportive learning phase for individuals with skills and knowledge but little capital to get started in a valuable profession.
Thanks to Debbie for making this forum possible.
Coordinator, The Sustainable Farming Program
764 West Street
Pittsboro, NC 27312