Incubator Farm Program

What is the Incubator Farm Program?

Start-up costs are one of the biggest obstacles for beginning farmers. Our Incubator Farm Program provides new growers with affordable land, resources, one-on-one guidance, language interpretation if needed and training to develop their production techniques and business skills.

 
The Incubator Farm is located on land leased from Ecovillage Ithaca, a few miles from downtown Ithaca.

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Incubator Farm Benefits

  • Access to 1/4 acre of farmland for up to four years
  • Equipment and tools, irrigation system, deer fence, walk-in refrigerator, and high tunnel space
  • Business development support with planning, financial management, and marketing
  • Field training and technical workshops
  • Individual mentoring from experienced farmers
  • A supportive Groundswell community and network of farmers

Cost

Fees ranging from $130 to $600

Contact Us if you are interested in learning more.

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Who's eligible?

  • Must have demonstrated farming experience, such as a background in family farming, homesteading, on-farm employment, internships, participation in Groundswell programs, or similar training
  • Must have a clear farm business concept and commitment to farming with respect for the land.

While we consider all applicants to the Incubator Farm Program, we prioritize admission for people of color, immigrants, refugees and women. We aim to build a more diverse farming community by supporting farmers who often experience significant systemic barriers to starting their business.

“It’s given me an opportunity to implement business ideas that I hadn’t had a chance to before. I’m looking to buy or lease land but there’s more risk and cost involved. This was more within my reach.”

- Damon, Incubator Farm Graduate

MEET THE FARMERS

In 2019, the farm is filled to capacity supporting 11 farming operations, with approximately 30 individuals including partners and family directly involved in the growing.

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Poe Htoo

Poe Htoo came from a hill rice farming family in Myanmar (formerly Burma) before re-settling in Ithaca as a refugee. Relying on his background in agriculture, he plants gotakola, Thai chili peppers, lemon cucumbers, bitter gourd, Edamame, corn, peas, basil, and other South East Asian crops.

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Eh Say

After several years at the Incubator, Eh Say has expanded into a new plot and is working closely with family friends. She grows vegetables and also has a love for flowers.

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Ability in Bloom

Ability in Bloom is a social enterprise program of Challenge Workforce Solutions whose goal is to provide jobs and work skills training for a dedicated group of adults and students with barriers to employment.  Ability in Bloom employs Challenge participants who are not ready to find work in the community.

VISIT THE INCUBATOR FARM

We're taking precautions to ensure the safety of visitors and the farmers during COVID-19. Thus the farm is not open to the public for walk-ins or visits. Join us for volunteer opportunities offered on a weekly/monthly basis.

We also welcome individuals or small groups to schedule a tour of the farm.

Contact us for details.

 

Directions:

The Groundswell Incubator Farm is located on land leased from EcoVillage Ithaca, 100 Rachel Carson Way, Ithaca NY. From Ithaca, take route 79 West for 2 miles, turn left on Rachel Carson Way, bare left just before the store Gourdlandia. Turn left at the stop sign, passing solar panels and a greenhouse ~ following the Groundswell signs. The Incubator Farm is to the left, just below the solar panels.

INTERESTED IN APPLYING?