Food To Bank On Basics
The Food To Bank On Program (FTBO) is designed to give beginning farmers the tools and resources they need to succeed. Over three years, "rookie" farmers have access to a variety of benefits and resources. There are five major components to the program:
Business planning workshops - For the first time in 2011, FTBO is merging their business planning workshops in partnership with the WSU Extension's Agricultural Entrepreneurship class, open for enrollment now. The six week series will run bi-monthly from February through mid-April. Participants will learn how to write a business plan, develop an innovative marketing concept and strategy, and evaluate production costs and economic returns to their business for different crops livestock they choose to produce.
In the off weeks, the FTBO specific cohort meets to discuss business planning topics in more depth and hear presentations from mentor farmers.
- Mentorship with an experienced farmer - This has proven to be one of the most valuable and appreciated components of FTBO. Mentor farmers are chosen towards the end of the business planning workshop series after you've had a chance to get to know each other. Mentor farmers agree to provide at least eight hours of their time throughout the season for anything from phone consultations to in-person meetings to farm tours. Click here for a list of mentors from 2010.
- Payments to deliver food to local hunger relief agencies - FTBO partners with various food banks, soup kitchens and shelters throughout Whatcom County to get fresh, healthy food to those who need it most. Farmers in the FTBO program receive up to $1200 worth of payments from the FTBO program throughout the year to deliver their products at market rates to these partners. Click here for a list of partner hunger-relief agencies.
- Marketing support through the Food & Farming Program - New farmers who are accepted into the FTBO program receive a free membership in Sustainable Connections for as long as they continue to meet the program requirements. This membership entitles you to a free listing in the Whatcom Food & Farm Finder and our wholesale directory, as well as free attendance at Food & Farming Program workshops and trade meetings. We also feature FTBO farmers regularly in our e-newsletter, What's FRESH! and provide 11" x 17" laminated posters that you can use to promote your business. Click here for a complete list of benefits of Sustainable Connections membership.
Click here for a list of the responsibilities of being a FTBO farmer.
Click here our criteria for selecting applicants and to download the FTBO application from 2010.
Click here for a list of resources for beginning farmers.
For more information about the program, contact coordinator,
Sara Southerland firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 647-7093.