Through our Start-Up Farms we work ‘on the ground’ with new farmers to provide critical support including access to land, infrastructure, and equipment as well as technical training, business planning skills development, and mentorship during the first 6 years of their enterprise start-up.
FarmStart takes care of the land, provides important on-site infrastructure and equipment and supports the farmers in their business planning, growing and marketing. Through one on one consultation, courses and workshops we provide access to mentors, business development and production advice and resources, technical training and farm succession support.
The farmers cooperate by sharing equipment and markets as well as growing techniques and experiences, all of which contribute to their learning and success in farming. Perhaps more than anything, within a Start-Up Farm, the new farmers find a supportive community of farmers who can provide some practical and moral support as they learn the hard business of farming.
Our goal is to develop an effective Start-Up Farm business model in which new farmers pay a progressive fee structure that supports their start-up phase but prevents them from developing non-viable production techniques and business plans. The farmers’ revenues are designed to be able to carry the operating, repair and improvement costs of the farm.
Test Farmers: These potential farmers can access 1/4 acre of land that we manage to grow and test market certain products while exploring, researching and developing their business goals and plans. Test farmers are allowed to stay on the land for 1 year, from March until November.
Start-Up Farms: New farms are able to apply to manage and maintain their own farm plots ranging from 500 sq feet (eg. for a bee keeper) to 4 acres (eg. a market garden) or more depending on the land available and the operation. They are considered “Start-Up farms” for the first 3 years – in which they will receive a 20% cost sharing during this period.
Enterprise Farms – After the 3rd season, the farm operations will provide us with a renewed business plan. At this point the will be allowed to expand their acreage and stay for 2 more years, during which time they pay full costs.
After 3 years the Start-Up are often ready to look to establish or re-strategize their farm plan and are more prepared to find the right farm, invest in the right equipment and to seek more significant financing for their farm business. We provide 3 years further, to help them prepare, research and make the transition on to their own farm property.
Some farms may be able to stay on as “Mentor farms” and will agree to provide mentorship and a greater level of involvement in the running of the farm facility.
Read about some of our new farmers.
Community Partners: We make some of the land on site available to community groups to run their own farm projects – for example this could be a local youth project, or a community/cultural co-op farm. We provide them with land, infrastructure and other support at varying fees. We have found the interaction between youth and other community members and our new farmers on the site are of incredible valuable for all.
Please take a look at Our Farms to find out more about what each has to offer.