So You Want to Be a Farmer?
The Farm Incubator and Grower program in Valle Crucis, Western
North Carolina’s first farm incubator, is accepting applications for the 2013 growing season.
Located in Valle Crucis, on the site of the former Appalachian State University Teaching & Research Farm, on land owned by the Valle Crucis Conference Center, the program plans to launch two small farm enterprises, run by beginning farmers with access to land, a tractor, a greenhouse and other equipment.
“Starting out as a farmer without access to equipment and land is next to impossible,” said Hillary Wilson, a 27-year-old farmer and executive director of Maverick Farms, which runs the FIG program in partnership with Appalachian State University’s Sustainable Development Program.
“The idea of FIG is to give new farmers a chance to develop their growing and marketing skills, while they look for more permanent land opportunities,” she said. Working with land trusts and other local resources, the FIG program will help link incubatees to affordable land after their apprenticeships, Wilson said.
Possible ventures for FIG apprentices include vegetables, cut flowers, herbs and pasture-based meat and eggs, Wilson said.
In addition to access to equipment and mentoring, apprentices have access to established markets through the High Country CSA, a multifarm marketing project also run by Maverick Farms.
FIG launched In January 2012, with funding support from the Appalachian District Health Department and Heifer USA.
The program is now accepting applications for 2013. The application can be found at http://www.fig-farm.com and the deadline to apply is Nov. 15.