A Groundswell of opportunities for beginning farmers!

December 14, 2018

The Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement of the USDA awards Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming* $199,000 for the Project “Every Farmer at the Table: Expanding access and opportunity for underrepresented farmers in Central New York.”

This funding enables Groundswell Center to continue to provide their comprehensive suite of technical agriculture and farm business training sessions, one-on-one consultation to navigate State & Federal resources, and support for English language learners. This award also enables the development of a 3:1 matched savings or Individual Development Account (IDA) program designed to assist socially disadvantaged individuals with farm business start-up or expansion costs in collaboration with Alternatives Federal Credit Union (AFCU), who has extensive experience offering IDA programs.  Past Farm Business Course graduates and enrollees in the upcoming Grow Your Farm Business Course (Jan 16 – March 13) may be eligible for this matched savings program.  Finally, this funding also allows Groundswell Center to organize the second Farm to Plate Conference, designed to “educate, celebrate, and unite for a just and sustainable food system”.

Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming is training the next generation of sustainable farmers in the Finger Lakes. Their work supports individuals to develop agricultural skills and grow profitable, equitable and ecologically sound farm businesses. They work to dismantle racism in the food system by working at the intersection of farming and justice and prioritizing support for underrepresented producers including people of color, refugees, women and individuals with limited resources.

“USDA funding like this has been the largest source of funding and the backbone of Groundswell Center since our beginning”, says Elizabeth Gabriel, Groundswell Director. “We are grateful that the Farm Bill signed into place this week allocates money for beginning farmer training programs like ours to continue and are especially thrilled about working with AFCU on this Ag-IDA program.  We really hope a program like this can make it a little easier for beginning farmers of color to get started or expand existing farm businesses.”

To learn more about Groundswell Center and this Project, explore groundswellcenter.org.

*While awaiting their own nonprofit status, Groundswell Center is a fiscally sponsored project of Center for Transformative Action, a 501c3 nonprofit who accepts funding on Groundswell’s behalf.

photo credit: USDA