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GrowNYC Annual Report 2012 | FARMroots Program Expansion

FARMroots Program Expansion

In 2011, Greenmarket and the Open Space Institute partnered to develop and complete a comprehensive survey to assess the status and needs of farm businesses. We found that nearly half of land-based farmers will be retired by 2030. However, 56% do not have a plan for who their successors will be, how they will recover their equity to retire, or how their farms will stay in production. Thanks to generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the FARMroots Program launched in September 2012 to address these needs by providing business, financial, legal, and marketing support to all Greenmarket producers. FARMroots (Farm Assistance Retention & Management) is offering a scope of resources to serve all of our Greenmarket farmers, building on GrowNYC’s New Farmer Development Program which targets immigrants with
farming experience.

We are continuing to train and support beginning farmers in the region through our 3-month whole farm planning course, Farm Beginnings: La Nueva Siembra, participatory workshops, and one-on-one technical assistance. Additionally, this year we joined the national Farm Beginnings Collaborative, which has allowed us to connect with twelve similar beginning farmer training programs throughout the country, and has strengthened our whole farm planning curriculum.

There are 22 participants enrolled in the 2012 Farm Beginnings: La Nueva Siembra training course, from countries including Sierra Leone, Turkey, China, Guyana, India, and Grenada. In 2012 we expanded our Farm Beginnings outreach and enrolled 14 U.S.-born participants who are also hoping to parlay their past farming and gardening experience into new farm businesses.

FARMroots is expanding with a new dedicated staff person on board.
To-date, we have:

• Established an advisory board made up of producers with various degrees of farming experience
• Created a needs assessment application that will refine FARMroots menu of services
• Created a database of pro bono/low cost assistance
• Begun to develop evaluation metrics
• Developed partnerships to leverage additional resources