Agricultural nonprofit Glynwood is now accepting applications for its Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator, which is seeding the next generation of sustainable farm businesses in the region. Three entrepreneurs will be selected this fall to launch their businesses at the Incubator, which is located on 323 acres of prime farmland in the Mohonk Preserve Foothills, in early 2016.
Launched in early 2014, the Hudson Valley Farm Business Incubator, a partnership with the Open Space Institute (OSI), provides the tools and resources aspiring agricultural entrepreneurs need to develop and manage viable farm enterprises in the Hudson Valley. The Incubator reduces the traditional barriers to success for new farm businesses by providing access to land, housing, shared equipment, infrastructure, low-interest capital, business mentoring and training in regenerative farming practices. Launching farm-based businesses in the supportive, low-risk environment of the Incubator greatly increases the likelihood of business viability and success.
Once their businesses have matured to the point of self-sufficiency, Glynwood will assist Incubator graduates in transitioning to longer-term landholdings in the region (in some cases, land protected by OSI), ensuring they will have a place to operate their businesses independently while also bringing more land into production. Glynwood is also a core partner in American Farmland Trust’s Hudson Valley Farmlink program, a regional network of farmer training service providers and land trusts that facilitates matches between farmers and landowners.
The Incubator is located on one of New York’s most iconic landscapes, an 856-acre parcel on the eastern escarpment of the Shawangunk Ridge outside of New Paltz. The land was acquired by OSI in 2011 and sold to the Mohonk Preserve in 2014. This property includes two historic farms located on 323 acres, which is the site of the Incubator. The majority of the land is cleared pastureland that is best suited for grazing livestock, thus the Incubator has an emphasis on livestock production. Glynwood has identified 85 acres appropriate for rotational grazing and 8 acres suitable for vegetable production, and planned soil improvements will increase the available acreage suitable for diversified agricultural production in the coming years.
The three businesses selected this fall will join the inaugural class of Incubator participants that are already building their agricultural enterprises at theIncubator. These businesses include:
• Lily’s Farm, a diversified farming operation that will produce eggs, culinary herbs and edible flowers, founded by Lily Dougherty-Johnson
• Four Legs Farm, a 150-member meat CSA that will offer pastured lamb and pork meat, educational programming, and events for the surrounding community, founded by Leanna Mulvihill
• Community Compost Company, the first collection and composting company in Ulster County, which will retrieve organic materials from the waste stream and produce high-quality compost in conjunction with local farms, founded by Eileen Banyra and Noa Simons.
Glynwood will be accepting applications through June 30th, 2015 from entrepreneurs with a minimum of two years farming experience, a demonstrated commitment to sustainable agriculture and a detailed business proposal, with priority given to enterprises that emphasize regenerative livestock management. Finalists will be invited for in-person interviews with the Selection Committee at Glynwood in August, and three applicants will be selected in September to launch their businesses at the Incubator in early 2016. More information for potential applicants can be found at http://www.glynwood.org/