The Farms Program, a nationally recognized farm business incubator, has supported the growth of dozens of farms since 1990. Farms are accepted into the program after a rigorous application process that includes developing a business plan and presenting it to staff and existing Intervale farmers.
New farmers have access to land and shared equipment at reduced rental rates in years 1 through 3. By year 5, new farms should be on firm footing and ready to transition out of the Intervale onto land of their own. Between 2006 and 2009, three Intervale farms successfully graduated onto their own farms in Vermont, and four new farms enrolled. The community of farmers in the Intervale has made the program a leader in farm business incubation for 20 years. Intervale Consulting was started to respond to regular interest in replicating the Farms Program model, which has proven to help farmers gain access to smaller parcels of fertile land, shared equipment to reduce start-up capital needs, and access to hands-on knowledge from mentor farmers.
"Being at the Intervale with shared infrastructure and start-up guidance is a huge help. And being around other farmers who have a bunch of experience is the best."
—Bobby Young, Intervale Farms Program graduate
Written by Joyce Cellars.