Sustainable Connections adds new farms to business-training program

Five new farms have joined Sustainable Connections’ Food To Bank On project, a beginning farmer business-training program.

Food to Bank On supports sustainable farmers within their first five years of business with resources, peer-to-peer and experienced farmer mentorship, marketing support and payments for food deliveries to local food banks and shelters.

The new project members include:

– Well Fed Farms, a first-generation family farmstead in the north end of the Skagit Valley. It offers a variety of pasture-raised meats, eggs and produce.

– The Backyard Beans and Grains Project, based in Riverhaven Farm in Everson. Itconducts seed trials, sells locally-grown heirloom seeds and works to educate farmers and gardeners on how to grow dry beans, grains and seed crops using low-tech methods.

– Blue Wheel Farm in north Bellingham, which produces responsibly-raised and affordable pork, chevon (goat meat), poultry and eggs.

– Prairie Road Farm, a small family farm located on 20 acres at the base of Bow Hill. It raises free-range pastured chickens for meat and eggs, grass fed sheep for meat and a variety of vegetables without the use of synthetic chemicals or GMO feed or seeds.

– Vine Maple Acres, on a 15-acre homestead near Bellingham. It provides sustainably grown vegetables, fruits, herbs and locally produced products.

In the three-year revolving cohort experience, participants create and refine a business plan, get marketing and promotional assistance, and receive valuable feedback as a part of a close knit peer group with mentor support to help grow their enterprises.

Since the project’s start in 2003, 37 farmers have gone through the program, and 27 are still farming fruitfully today.

For more information on the project and to see profiles of all the participating farms, visit the Sustainable Connections website at www.sconnect.org/foodfarming/FTBO or contact project coordinator Sara Southerland at sara@sconnect.org.

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