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.
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
Fees ranging from $130 to $600
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Interested in seeing what our Incubator Farm? Come out for a tour! or to Volunteer!
Open to the public: Monthly tours and volunteer days are offered the first Thursday of the month April - October and are family friendly, and led by our Incubator Farm Manager. See our events directory for a list of upcoming volunteer opportunities.
For groups: Private one-hour tours for school groups, University students or other interested groups can be arranged April - October. Typically, 3-4 weeks advance notice is required. A $50 - $100 donation is requested, although if this is burdensome, please contact us to make arrangements.
Contact us for details or to arrange a group tour!
The Groundswell Incubator Farm is located on land rented 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.