Launched in 2012 with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, FARMroots provides Greenmarket producers with a range of support designed to meet the needs of diversified farmers. FARMroots was created to ensure that aspiring farmers and small family farms are provided with the tools they need to keep land in our region in agricultural production so that they can continue to bring fresh food to New York City residents. Its two-part approach targets both beginning and experienced farmers. With the goal of keeping farmers in the fields doing what they do best, the program offers business training to aspiring farmers, while established Greenmarket farmers may request support around land and legal planning, marketing and product development, and much more. Workshops and events are offered year-round for all types of farmers.
FARMroots grew out of GrowNYC’s New Farmer Development Project, which, since 2000, has helped immigrants with agricultural experience start their own farm businesses.
Beginning farmers are engaged in an 8-week training course. Following this training, graduates are connected with land opportunities, marketing help, and assisted with business-related tasks like financial management. Arian Rivera, a graduate, used the course as a way to test the financial, social, and environmental viability of a small livestock operation. Upon graduation, Arian received the livestock apprenticeship at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Reflecting on the class, Rivera said “FARMroots was instrumental in preparing me for the apprenticeship and providing me with the network I needed to succeed.” Rivera hopes to move on to a management position at a sustainable beef or pork operation for the 2014 season.
Long-time Greenmarket farmers like Morse Pitts of Windfall Farms are also taking advantage of FARMroots’ services. Morse says, “The FARMroots team asked all the right questions and have all the right information. It’s refreshing and exciting.”
In addition to the immediate impact our program has on our farmers, our long-term goal is to ensure Greenmarket has a next generation of farmers to vend at the markets, and to preserve land in the region, critical to a sustainable future.
Our Farm Management course brought together aspiring farmers from 11 countries last year