Incubator Farm

Groundswell Farm Business Incubator Program

The Groundswell Incubator Program provides access to land, infrastructure, and short-term enterprise incubation for diverse beginning farmers.
The Groundswell Incubator Program provides access to land, infrastructure, training and mentoring for diverse beginning farmers.

Our Incubator Farm is the first of its kind in New York State, creating pathways to ownership for aspiring farmers from marginalized communities, including New Americans and people of color.

With affordable access to land, equipment, training and mentoring, Incubator Program participants can launch their farm businesses with minimal investment and risk.

Start-up costs are one of the biggest obstacles for beginning farmers. The expense of buying land, buildings, and equipment— combined with the risk of an untested farming strategy — prevents many people from even considering farming as a business. Groundswell’s Incubator Program significantly reduces the barriers to starting a farm business by giving new farmers a place to develop their organic production techniques and business skills without having to make a major investment.

Through the Incubator Program, beginning farmers can develop the three-year track record needed to secure a low-interest loan from USDA Farm Service Agency or another lender, which may enable them to expand their enterprise when the time is right.

Ye Myint
Ye Myint brought his farming experience from Burma to Groundswell’s Incubator Farm, where he grew cucumbers for his sushi business, and hard-to-find Asian greens for southeast Asian American communities in the region.

Groundswell’s Incubator Program reflects our commitment to creating opportunities for farmers from economically and socially disadvantaged groups. People of color and New Americans, including refugees, are groups of potential farmers who often have significant barriers to getting started in farming. Although we consider all applicants to the program, in order to build a more diverse farming community we prioritize admission to the Incubator Program for these farmers.

Learn more about the benefits and requirements of the Incubator Farm Program and apply to be an Incubator Farmer.


 2017 Incubator Farmers

 

Glen Robertson, Ability in Bloom (returning) Fresh Cut Flower

Ability in Bloom is a dynamic, horticulture-based social enterpris
program of Challenge Workforce Solutions.  Through growing and marketing cut-flowers, we provide meaningful jobs to a committed group of adults and teenagers with disabilities and other barriers to
employment.  We have farmed a plot at Groundswell’s Incubator Farm for the past two years.  Growing at the Incubator Farm has given us a safe, accessible space to learn how to work together as a team and develop the confidence we need to grow beautiful flowers.
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Paw Pha (returning) Burmese & U.S. Vegetables

 

Aung Htoo & Ea Say, and Eh Hser & Merry Paw (returning) Burmese & U.S. Vegetable


Alison Smith, Wild Air Flower Farm
(new) Fresh Cut Flowers

Wild Air Flower Farm focuses on sustainably grown, specialty cut flowers.  Initially inspired to begin farming by her passion for cultivating local food, owner and grower Alison Smith, decided to narrow her focus to flowers after 3 years of growing vegetables in the Hudson Valley.  Alison appreciates that flowers can bring joy, express peace and show love. She looks forward to building community through a shared love for flowers in the coming season! Wild Air grows designer-quality cut flowers for florists, DIY brides and grooms and lots of flower lovers all over the Finger Lakes region.

Taylor Shuler (new)  Herbs, medicinals, niche value-added products

Poe Too (new) Burmese & U.S. Vegetables

Sea Nee Sow (new) Burmese & U.S. Vegetables


Incubator Team

 

Brian Caldwell – Research Support Specialist – Soil & Crop Sciences, School of Integrative Plant Science
Barb Neal – Association Community Educator, Horticulture – Cornell Cooperative Extension – Tioga County
Sally Wessels – former Coordinator – T-S-T BOCES Adult English as a Second Language (ESL) Program

This committee meets ~ 6 times/year and serves as an advisory team for the Incubator Farm program: ensuring goals and values are upheld, supporting incubator staff and farmers when needed with farming expertise, cultural advice as appropriate and building community relationships to expand the impact and success of the program.
Join the team! We are seeking new members for this Committee. Specifically people with a background in business, finances, cultural communications, and organic farming would be ideal. If you are interested in participating please contact us.