The New American Farmer


Groundswell receives award to train immigrant and refugee beginning farmers

We’re excited to announce a new, one-year grant award of $73,443 from New York Department of State’s New Americans Initiative! This initiative is funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, with support from the Southern Tier East Regional Planning Development Program. The new funding will enable us to enhance our outreach, training and farm business incubation for immigrant and refugee beginning farmers.
Getting the word out
Are you a “New American” immigrant, with experience in farming in your home country? Or do you work with refugees or other immigrants in your community who might be interested in small-scale farming? If the answer is yes, Groundswell needs your help.  Beginning next spring, we will offer customized training in farm business management, production and marketing, as well as personalized mentoring from experienced farmers and business advisers. For those with limited English language skills, ESL support will be provided. Affordable access to land, water and equipment will also be available at the Groundswell Incubator Farm, at EcoVillage in Ithaca, New York.
Our focus in the next three months is on finding out who might be interested, and getting the word out to them. We’re looking for help from New Americans and from community-based groups who work with New Americans in Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins Counties. If you know of individuals or communities who may have an interest in farming, please contact us at 607-319-5095 or info@groundswellcenter.org. 

Changing the face of farming
“Like previous waves of new Americans, these newcomers are engines for economic growth in our state,” said Secretary of State Cesar Perales.”We are proud to be partnering with Groundswell and others to fund a program that helps newcomers skilled in agricultural production realize their entrepreneurial dreams, while strengthening the Southern Tier local agricultural economy. By working with this population to fill education gaps, locate capital, and identify property suitable for agriculture projects, new Americans will increase employment opportunities in the region, and preserve the region’s agricultural lands.”

“This project will significantly boost our ability to train and support New American beginning farmers,” says Devon Van Noble, Coordinator of Groundswell’s Incubator Farm. “We’ve had a number of immigrant trainees who have been able to participate fully in Groundswell’s existing programs, but those with significant language barriers or cultural barriers need more customized support.”

“Our goal is to foster a new generation of farmers that reflects the diversity of culture, color, and class in our region,” says Rachel Firak, Groundswell’s New Farmer Training Coordinator. “Support from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the NY Department of State and Southern Tier East will help us connect with immigrant communities in our area, find out who is interested in farming, and help them get started.”

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