The Incubator Farm

The Incubator Farm Business Training Program supports beginning culturally marginalized farmers in Louisville as they build successful, independent farm businesses. In partnership with Jefferson County Cooperative Extension, the three-year program aims to support farmers’ business and crop production skills through educational opportunities, technical support, and connections with other farmers. 

The Incubator Farm site at 3130 Millers Lane is a place where farmers without land can begin building their businesses. After farmers graduate from the three year program, Common Earth Gardens supports their search for expanded land access. Read more about connecting beginning farmers with land opportunities, and how community members can get involved, here

Applications to join the program are available at an Informational Meeting each January. An application and in-person interview are required to be considered for the farm program and to have a plot. Interpretation is available.

To support land access for communities and farm businesses in the Louisville area, CEG seeks and helps to facilitate partnerships with local landowners. For example, the Incubator Farm land is used in partnership with the Metropolitan Sewer District, and the Southside Community Garden land is cultivated in partnership with Antioch Baptist Church. In land access partnerships, CEG staff, farmers, garden leaders, community partners, landowners, and other stakeholders communicate together. 

Land access partnerships begin with the following considerations: 

  1. Long term commitment: Agriculture builds relationships with land and relies on processes that cycle over many years. To begin growing on a plot of land is to commit to a relationship with that land, and for this reason we seek long term partnerships with landowners. Before beginning a partnership, we look for a 10+ year commitment and transparency about the future of the land. 
  2. Community partners:
    1. Community gardens are more effective the more growers and community members have collective power in their startup, management, and ownership. 
    2. Private agriculture sites, such as market farms in the Incubator Farm program, are also strengthened through community. Consider who else may relate to this land and how beneficial relationships may be formed. 
  3. Land conditions: Consider the land’s history, soil type, proximity to pollutants, and other factors that may determine whether it can be cultivated healthily and productively.

Water access: How can growers access water for agriculture on this land? If necessary, how much would it cost to add a water line?

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