MENDOCINO Co., 12/20/23 — It’s not easy getting started as a farmer, and limited access to land and other resources and support can be additional challenges. To address this need, the School of Adaptive Agriculture, located at the Ridgewood Ranch south of Willits, has launched a new farm incubator program for 2024, which will provide fenced land, irrigation, facilities, and other support for “aspiring farmers, homesteaders, herbal medicine makers, bee keepers, and others aspiring to carve out a living on the land.”
The program will have room for up to five new ventures to access land for up to three years, and also provide check-ins, planning assistance, and resources. The school will also seek to help incubated businesses find land of their own once they are ready. More details are available and an application are available on the program website, and by contacting Director Michael Foley at 707-216-5549.
Here’s the press release with additional details:
The School of Adaptive Agriculture announces a new Farm Incubator Program for 2024. We provide land and opportunity for aspiring farmers, homesteaders, herbal medicine makers, bee keepers, and others aspiring to carve out a living on the land. Located on beautiful Ridgewood Ranch, outside of Willits, the SAA Incubator Farm space includes fenced land, irrigation, and shared facilities for a low monthly fee. The program is designed to get aspiring producers up and running while they develop the skills needed to launch their own farming enterprise or homestead.
Incubator farming programs across the country provide land at subsidized rates for beginning farmers while they get experience and develop their own methods and vision. Services and equipment are provided to the new farmers, again at subsidized rates. And training classes, workshops and frequent opportunities to consult with the program director and experienced farmers fill in gaps in learning, answer questions and help resolve problems.
The Incubator Farming Program at the School of Adaptive Agriculture includes help with planning and monthly check-ins to support participants. A series on workshops on such topics as Creating a Caring Farm Community and Workplace; Record Keeping and Farm Planning; Bookkeeping, Taxes and Regulatory Requirements; Soil Management and Regenerative Organic Practices; “Lean” Farm Organization and Design; and Post-Harvest Handling and Food Safety provides training to first-year participants. A small fee for first-year classes will be part of the “On-Boarding Fee.”
The program provides land for three years. At that point, SAA will do what it can to help participants find land of their own. Though there are no guarantees, SAA is part of a recently formed group of organizations determined to provide more land at affordable rates for farmers in the Mendocino County.
In addition to Black Dog Farm, the current incumbent and the Program’s “anchor farm,” SAA can accommodate up to 5 farming ventures at this time. New farmers will enjoy shared use of resources such as cold storage, tool shed, potting shed, nursery space in a large hoop house, and water and electrical hook-ups. Other equipment and service, including caterpillar tunnels, tractor work, and larger pieces of equipment, will be rented out at reasonable rates.
Founded in 2013 the School of Adaptive Agriculture (formerly the Grange Farm School) has been educating aspiring farmers through its Practicum Program, doing technical training for farmers, conducting workshops for a wide public, and hosting farming conferences since then.
For more information, and to apply: https://schoolofadaptiveagriculture.org/programs/farm-incubator-program/. Or call Director Michael Foley at 707 216-5549.