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Young farmers needed to create sustainable food system

Becky's CornMany of America’s farmers are getting older or retiring and 70 percent of farmland in the United States will change hands over the next two decades, according to the FarmLASTS Project at the University of Vermont. The age of the average U.S. farmer is 58.3 years old.

Young farmers are needed to create a sustainable food system.

The Food Tank, a food think tank, is highlighting resources available for people working to create sustainable farm business models, ranging from food and farm incubators to sources of grant money and microloans:

ACDI/VOCA promotes economic opportunities for cooperatives, enterprises, and communities through the innovative application of sound business practice.

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems Incubator Farm Project works with communities in North Carolina to repurpose land into new farm incubators.

Dirt Works, an incubator farm in South Carolina, provides farmers launching a new business with infrastructure and support for up to three years.

FamilyFarmed works to increase the production, marketing, and distribution of food that is produced locally and justly.

Farm Aid helps build a family-farm-focused agricultural system through a variety of resources.

The Food and Farm Communications Fund facilitates the strategic communication needed to create robust and resilient regional food systems.

Food+Tech Connect is an online platform for good food innovators that uses technology and data to improve the food system.

Food-X helps companies tackling major challenges that affect the food sector through mentorship and education.

The Headwaters Farm Incubator Program leases out sections of Oregon’s East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District’s land to individuals looking to launch a new farming endeavor.

Hot Bread Kitchen, located in New York City, offers two culinary workforces and business incubation programs, Project Launch and HBK Incubates.

La Cocina is an incubator kitchen based in San Francisco.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is the only federally funded program dedicated exclusively to training the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

The National Young Farmers Coalition works to secure the success of young farmers by supporting practices and policies that enable new farmers to create thriving businesses.

The RSF Social Finance Seed Fund provides grantees with small gifts, ranging from $500 to $5,000, to provide financial support for initiatives that address specific focus areas, such as food and agriculture.

The Southern Oregon Farmer Incubator is a collaborative effort to train new and beginning farmers.

The Garden Project, based in San Francisco and originally created to provide job training and support to former offenders, has its participants work in an intensive program learning organic horticulture and landscaping skills, preparing them for future agriculture-based jobs.

Copyright 2015, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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