Let’s talk about money folks.
How do we go about starting farms? Some of the main barriers new farmers face are access to training, access to land, access to funding. We’ve definitely noticed that in the last 10 years there has certainly been an increase in training opportunities, from more farms offering better employment, institutions offering curriculum around sustainable ag, and organizations, with as similar mandate to ours, helping connect budding agrarians.
But land access and funding remain serious challenges. While farmers continue to create novel approaches to financing their operations (CSA’s, community borrowing) we clearly need more recognition and support from the financial industry to help get new farms off the ground.
We’re really excited about the potential of the Maine Harvest Credit Project, a credit union that is being developed specifically to help farmers secure funding to start their projects. The team driving the project has reached over half of their funding goal to establish the credit union, which will offer financing primarily to farmers, fishers and brewers.
Let’s hope Maine sets the trend for New England and beyond!