Farmers for Chicago: Farmer Incubation Program

UGC’s farmer training program is a hybrid business-training course that allows participants to learn the hands on fundamentals of farming, while simultaneously developing their business plan. The course will be a series of daylong, weekend seminars with benchmarks completed between sessions by participants. The format of the program supports both new program participants and ongoing development. Participation in all workshops is mandatory.

Our Goal

“To provide new and emerging farmers and ranchers with hands-on training in intensive urban agriculture production, post-harvest handling and wholesale volume, business and marketing planning, and long-term mentoring support to improve and develop farm operation viability, and as a foundation in promoting food security in food desert communities.”

The Farmers for Chicago 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, and to make each vision a workable business plan, to eventually make a new urban farm a reality. Please come prepared for field work with weather appropriate attire.

This practical adult education-training program is designed to assure that participants have the tools to begin their urban farming project 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 those individuals who are serious and ready to contribute to the food system in their communities as members of the farming profession, and is designed to provide support and coaching to complete a viable plan. Our expectation is that participants complete their work between sessions and come prepared.


Each session will focus on a seasonal skill set and will provide opportunities for trainees to learn how to farm. This will be complemented by classroom learning and discussion to prepare participants to complete a realistic plan. Each session will include site visits and opportunities to connect with urban farmers, buyers, restaurateurs, funders and investors.

First year participants will be selected after presenting a project plan on a contingency basis. Attendance at all workshops, upkeep of farm plot, and participation will determine expansion of farm space after year-one.

Cost of Training: 

  • $500.00 and 80 hours of farm support work share, OR
  • $1700 total program cost without work share option

Click here for a 2020 FFC UGC Description & Application

*Space is limited. Applications will be reviewed and accepted in the order they are received.