Farmers for Chicago: New Farmer Incubation

Urban Growers Collective’s Farmer Incubator program provides new and emerging farmers and ranchers with hands-on training in intensive urban agriculture production, post-harvest handling and wholesale volume, and business planning, and marketing. Participants also receive long-term mentoring support to improve and develop farm operation viability and as a foundation for promoting food security in communities with limited food access. Black, Indigenous, and farmers of color are especially encouraged to apply.

OUR GOAL

 

The Farmer Incubation program provides an opportunity for active participation and learning to support the training and development of new farmers, regardless of skill level. Each session has a strong hands-on training and classroom session to support development goals, to make each vision a workable business plan, and to eventually make a new urban farm a reality.

This practical adult education-training program is designed to assure that participants have the tools to begin their own urban farming business when the training concludes. One-on-one advising is part of the program, both as participants work between sessions to develop your farming plan and at the conclusion of the formal program. This program is designed for individuals who are serious about running their own urban farm and ready to contribute to the food system in their communities.

Our goal is to provide opportunities for BIPOC farmers who have historically been excluded to enter the farming industry. By providing incubator farmers with land access, mentorship, expert-led trainings, and market opportunities, we aim to remove many of the barriers that often prevent farmers of color from starting their own urban farms.

STRUCTURE

 

The Incubator Farmer program is a 3-year intensive farm training program that covers all aspects of farm business development. Each year-long session focuses on a seasonal skillset and provides incubator farmers with the opportunity to learn about a new aspect of urban agriculture. Sessions are complemented by classroom learning and discussion to prepare participants to complete a realistic business plan. Each session includes site visits and opportunities to connect with urban farmers, buyers, restaurateurs, funders and investors.

Many of our incubator farmers run their own CSA programs and sell value-added products made from crops grown on their farms. Their produce is also available seasonally at Urban Growers Collective farm stands and as part of UGC’s CSA program.

First year participants will be selected after presenting a project plan. Space is limited. Applications will be reviewed and accepted in the order they are received. Attendance at all workshops, upkeep of farm plot, and participation will determine expansion of farm space after year one.

 

COST

 

  • $500.00 and 80 hours of UGC farm support work share OR
  • $1700.00 total program cost without work share option

Questions?

Contact us at info@urbangrowerscollective.org or (773) 376-8882.