Other partners are the National Center for Appropriate Technology, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Andrew Branan, an attorney who concentrates his practice on production agriculture and land transfer issues.

Funding for the project is provided by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

CEFS will partner with municipalities, counties or state agencies to help develop up to five new incubator farms over the next two years. Successful applicants will meet the following criteria:

• Strong public leadership dedicated to developing an incubator farm;

• Strong community partnerships with organizations like N.C. Cooperative Extension or community colleges;

• Incubating farmers who will contribute to an identified community need instead of leasing land;

• Access to local, affordable housing in the community for new farmers with limited resources;

• Willingness of public land owner to turn vacant land into productive land;
• Consumer interest in local foods;

• And ideally, mentor farmers in the community.

In return, CEFS will assist with development of the new incubator farms by providing training, web-based resources, education on farm transition and land access, access to state agricultural professionals and business specialists, and partnership on grants for additional support.

CEFS will help each community develop their incubator farm by facilitating a charrette process that will result in a visioning report, concept plan or other materials for seeking additional funds.

Applications will be accepted through the online portal found at the project website: http://www.ncnewfarmers.org.

The application deadline is 5 p.m., Dec. 1. Applicants should address questions to joanna_lelekacs@ncsu.edu, and additional information also is available at the website http://www.ncnewfarmers.org/.

CEFS develops and promotes food and farming systems that protect the environment, strengthen local communities, and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond. CEFS was established in 1994 by North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.