Williams Farm Incubator Program

The Williams Farm Incubator Program is a two-year apprentice program that provides access to land, training and resources to beginning farmers who are American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, Black or African Americans, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and Veterans. The goal of the program is to help these farmers hone their skills and develop independent sustainable farm businesses. The Williams Farm Incubator Program is supported by funding through USDA’s 2501 Program.

How it Works

In the first year, incubator farmers will grow in 50-foot permanent raised beds under the guidance of the Williams Farm Manager. The food grown will go to Clarke County families through weekly distributions at CCSD schools and the West Broad Farmers Market. Farmer incubators are expected to commit to 6-12 hours of farm work each week for a 30-week season, and will be paid for the produce that they grow in their assigned beds. The current cohort began in January 2024.

In the second year, incubator farmers will work with Land Trust staff and partner organizations to identify consistent sales outlets for their produce, including farmers markets, restaurants, and grocery stores. Second year incubators will have more flexibility in deciding which crops to produce, but sales are not guaranteed.

What is Offered?

The Williams Farm is a small-scale Certified Naturally Grown urban farm located just 2 miles from downtown Athens.  The farm has six outdoor plots of differing sizes available for rent, each containing 30-inch wide, 50-foot long permanent growing beds.  The farm also has two covered growing spaces, each containing 4 30-inch wide, 40-foot long permanent growing beds.  All growing beds have been managed as no-till for the past three years, and are well-balanced in terms of nutrition and texture.  A maximum of 22 beds is available for rent per individual farmer.

The Williams Farm has a covered wash/pack facility, complete with walk-in cooler, 3-compartment wash sink, separate packing area, tool storage and restroom.

Williams Farm and ALT staff assist incubator farmers in the development of production and marketing plans, provide education and training as needed in all aspects of crop production, and connect incubator farmers to existing market channels.

What are the Costs?

Rental amounts vary depending on the number of beds required by each farmer.  The maximum available rental of 22 beds is priced at $1,200/year (or $100/month).

The Williams Farm is supplied by municipal water, and each farmer is responsible for the cost of their irrigation needs.  Each individual plot is set up for drip irrigation, with its own irrigation mainline and separate water meter.

Individual farmers are responsible for their own seeds, amendments and supplies.  These will all need to comply with Certified Naturally Grown standards.  A variety of tools and equipment is on the farm and available for use.

How Do I Apply?

The current cohort for this program is full. If you are interested in joining the next cohort for the Williams Farm Incubator Program, please contact: Joy Brown, the Williams Farm Manager at joy@athenslandtrust.org.