Farm incubator program seeks applicants
by Staff Reports
The Farm Incubator and Grower (FIG) program, Western North
Carolina’s first farm incubator, is accepting applications for the 2013 growing
Located in Valle Crucis, on the site of the former ASU
Teaching & Research Farm on land owned by the Valle Crucis Conference
Center, the program plans to launch two small farm enterprises, run by
beginning farmers with access to land, a tractor, a greenhouse and other
“Starting out as a farmer without access to equipment and
land is next to impossible,” said Hillary Wilson, a 27-year-old farmer and
executive director of Maverick Farms, which runs the FIG program in partnership
with Appalachian State University’s Sustainable Development Program.
“The idea of FIG is to give new farmers a chance to
develop their growing and marketing skills while they look for more permanent
land opportunities,” she said. Working with land trusts and other local
resources, the FIG program will help link participants to affordable land after
their apprenticeships, Wilson added.
Possible ventures for FIG apprentices include vegetables,
cut flowers, herbs and pasture-based meat and eggs, Wilson said. In addition to
access to equipment and mentoring, apprentices have access to established
markets through the High Country CSA, a multi-farm marketing project also run
by Maverick Farms.
FIG launched in January 2012 with funding support from the
Appalachian District Health Department and Heifer USA.
The program is now accepting applications for the 2013 cohort. The application can be found at http://www.fig-farm.com, and the deadline to apply is Nov. 15.