Monday, November 11, 2013

Incubator Farm Support

I'm going to write about something different today, and that's where all of this beautiful food comes from.  Farms!  All over the country there is a movement happening, right now, toward locally grown and healthy food, unprocessed, unpackaged, just good old fashioned food.  That food is lovingly provided by farmers who feel the call to work the earth, plant seeds, harvest fruits and vegetables, and get them to local markets for us all to purchase and enjoy.

Have you ever thought about what it takes to be a farmer?  Getting started is tough - available land is much larger than a beginning farmer can afford or work, there is a big investment in tools and training, and farming as a business requires a strong network of relationships that beginning farmers just don't have.  It's daunting enough that the majority of farmers now are at retirement age.  Ten years from now, where will all of that beautiful delicious produce come from, if new farmers don't step up?

The solution to this is to support incubator farms, places where beginning farmers can use land to learn the ropes, have a shared set of tools and equipment with other farmers to reduce the financial burden of a startup, and take educational workshops on farming and business practices to allow them to really make a living off the land.  As the farmers gain the necessary experience they can move on to larger parcels of land and feel confident in their markets, expanding their businesses and purchasing their own land.

The Green Urban Lunchbox, a project of the Community Foundation of Utah,  is starting an incubator farm in Layton, UT (just outside Salt Lake City) on an old orchard.  Those of you not familiar with the Salt Lake area may not know that this is excellent farming land.  This 37-acre future farm is beautiful and ready to be leased in small parcels to new farmers wanting to get started in commercial agriculture.  The organization will provide training on farming skills, best practices, and networking with local restaurants and markets, and bring together the people who will grow food for the Salt Lake area for the next generation.  All they need now is tools, and this is what they are soliciting donations for.  Can you help?  Check out the video on Razoo (it's like Kickstarter for nonprofits) and please chip in if you can.  Every donation brings new farmers closer to their dreams and this parcel of land closer to being worked by loving hands to produce food.  

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