Giving Compass' Take:

• Food Tank reports on the California organization First Generation Farmers, which is trying to train the next generation of agricultural professionals with sustainable methods.

• Recruitment in this area is a challenge. What can investors in the ag sector do to help raise awareness for incubator programs like this one?

Here's how one company is trying to connect aspiring farmers to land that needs cultivating: Call it eFarmony.

California-based First Generation Farmers (FGF) has been working to grow and support young and aspiring farmers through training and education programs since it was founded in 2013. FGF offers farm tours and runs summer camp and after-school programs for kids, introducing its visitors to biodiverse and organic farming, composting, and sustainability. FGF operates its farm stand on a “take what you need, pay what you can” model with hopes of engaging diverse populations in conversations about the importance of locally-grown, healthy food for all.

FGF offered ad-hoc training and mentoring of individual farming apprentices in its first years, but launched a formal farmer training and incubator program in 2017. The program, called Urban Edge Sustainable Farming (UESF), will both train and nurture young farmers and their young businesses through their early development stages and beyond.

Erin Brown, FGF’s Development Director, says FGF’s intention to offer a formal training program  is nothing new. “We’re passionate about supporting the next generation of farmers, and we feel we have a lot of resources to share: a big plot of fertile land that’s close to booming Bay Area markets, plus the wisdom and camaraderie of a 4th generation farming family that’s in it for the long haul.”

The program is called Urban Edge because of the farm’s proximity to changing and expanding urban markets, allowing the farm to easily tap into the increasing demand for locally- and identifiably-sourced, sustainable produce. FGF calls the challenge of urban edge farming “one of the most exciting economic opportunities in the agricultural sector today.”

Read the full article about generating support for future farmers by Rocco Pallin at Food Tank.