Resources for Urban Farmers

 

General information:

• Southside Community Land Trust has compiled a Farm Financing Chart and an Urban Ag. Financing document to provide information about financing resources and options of the different loan programs/types, with eligibility, size of loan, terms, etc.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service offers a wealth of guidance for beginning farmers on everything from starting a business to marketing to pest management.

Here in New England, the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) provides support for beginning farmers through workshops, conferences (scholarships are available), tours, networking events, and peer mentoring/apprenticeship opportunities.

The Northeast Beginning Farmers Project, part of the Cornell University Small Farms Program, is also a great resource, with online tutorials and video footage of interviews with experienced farmers in which they share their advice and production techniques.

Funding sources:

Whole Foods Market's Local Producer Loan Program (LPLP) donates up to $10 million in low-interest loans to small, local producers.

The USDA National Agriculture Library's Rural Information Center offers advice on developing business and financial plans and catalogues small farm loan providers.

The USDA's Farm Service Agency also makes direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loans to family-size farmers and ranchers who can't get credit from banks or other lenders.

• The USDA National Resources Conservation Service works with landowners through conservation planning and assistance designed to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals that result in productive lands and healthy ecosystems. Funding for farm conservation projects like hoop-houses, on-farm composting, etc. may be available. For more information: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov. 

Growing advice:

The University of California's Small Farm Program makes PowerPoint presentations about growing niche or specialty crops like mushrooms and fruit available on their website.


Here are some resources to support sustainable small-scale farms in and around the city.