(Photo: Two Farmers Farm, Scarborough, ME)
The Carrot Project and their partners have started a new initiative outlined in the guiding document, The Blueprint: Building a Better Business Assistance Network for Farms and Food Businesses. (Click here to view The Blueprint.)
What is the Blueprint?
Demand for local, ecologically-sound food is increasing rapidly as consumers, advocates, and policy-makers seek to support local and regional food systems. However, current and aspiring farmers and food business owners face significant barriers in accessing land, capital and markets, as well as developing viable business models. There is no consistent support to help farmers and food businesses develop long-term economic viability.
The Carrot Project is a cohort of farm and food business technical assistance providers and funders, ranging from direct service providers, advocacy non-profits, and federal and state agricultural extension services, to foundations. They envision a vibrant local and regional farm and food business economy in the Northeastern US, where entrepreneurs are able to access the tools, resources, and know-how they need to flourish. They came together at the National Farm Viability Conference in 2017 to inform the development of a strategic agenda, outlined in The Blueprint, for the development of a regional network of organizations, programs and services that supports the long-term economic viability of farm and food businesses.The success of food and farm businesses contributes to both the transformation of the food and agriculture system by meeting consumer demand, and to meeting state and regional goals to develop local food systems.
The Blueprint lays out three primary objectives:
- Objective 1: Cultivate a pipeline of business advisors to advise agricultural entrepreneurs across all business stages, scales, types, and populations.
- Objective 2: Develop a strong interstate network that provides professional development, networking, and advocacy opportunities for business technical assistance providers.
- Objective 3: Secure sufficient funding and other resources to ensure access to one-on-one business technical assistance across the New England and Hudson Valley regions.