North Carolina communities receive planning support for incubator farms

Date posted: March 21, 2012

Elma Lomax Farm-Becky Kirkland photoGrower Colleen McDaniel guides a group through the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm in Cabarrus County.

Media Contact: Joanna Lelekacs, 919.244.5269 or joanna_lelekacs@ncsu.edu

Several North Carolina communities will receive support in establishing incubator farms, thanks to the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) and the Bringing New Farmers to the Table Project. Incubator farms provide new farmers with plots of land to begin their operations and hone their farming skills before they make an investment in a more permanent location.

CEFS, a partnership of N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, has chosen five initial communities to receive project planning support for incubator farms. The average age of American farmers is now 57. To address this, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is looking for ways to encourage interested individuals to become farmers, and incubator farms are one approach.

Bringing New Farmers to the Table will help support the supply side of the 10% Campaign –www.nc10percent.com — a program of CEFS and N.C. Cooperative Extension that seeks to encourage consumers to spend 10 percent of their food dollars locally. To achieve that goal, the campaign encourages the development and training of new farmers who produce and sell food products locally.

N.C. Cooperative Extension supports two established incubator farms: The Breeze Farm Enterprise Incubator in Orange County and the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm in Cabarrus County.

“Building the local food economy can spur economic development and grow jobs in North Carolina. One core aspect is nurturing new farmers in their quest to produce for the state’s growing local foods markets,” says Nancy Creamer, co-director of CEFS.

The communities and lead organizations that will receive planning support under the CEFS program are listed below. Other communities may be included in the future.

Jacksonville, Onslow County
This incubator project involves a collaboration among the Onslow County Farmers Market, N.C. Cooperative Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Services and the City of Jacksonville. For more information, contact Larry Kent, Onslow County Cooperative Extension, 910.455.5873 or Larry_Kent@ncsu.edu.

Greensboro, Guilford County
A collaboration between Eastern Development Growth Enterprise, a non-profit economic development organization, and North Carolina A&T State University, this urban incubator farm will be developed on land provided by the Redevelopment Commission of Greensboro. For more information contact Gayland Oliver, gnc1229@yahoo.com.

Robbins, Moore County

This project is an effort organized by the Town of Robbins and a growing number of partners in the community. For more information, contact Claire Barrow, 910.948.2000 or cmatthew75@hotmail.com.

Wilmington, New Hanover County
LINC’s Education of Agriculture Program, an urban farming initiative of Leading Into New Communities (LINC), Inc., in partnership with Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program, Feast Down East, is working with individuals returning from incarceration in New Hanover County. For more information, contact Frankie Roberts, 910.762.4635 or froberts@lincnc.org.

Goldsboro, Wayne County
A collaboration between the Wayne Food Initiative and the Golden Glove Boxing Group, this incubator project will be developed on land leased from the City of Goldsboro. For more information, contact Cheryl Alston, calston9@nc.rr.com.

Partnering with CEFS in the Bringing New Farmers to the Table project are the National Center for Appropriate Technology, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service and Andrew Branan, an attorney who concentrates his practice on production agriculture and land transfer issues.

Bringing New Farmers to the Table is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, grant number #2010-49400-21733. For more information on the Bringing New Farmers to the Table project, visit www.ncnewfarmers.org.

–Written by Natalie Hampton, nhampton@ncsu.edu or 919.513.3128

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