21 Oct New Entry Sustainable Farming Project
The New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (New Entry) supports the success of small farms and community food systems. New Entry works locally and nationally to ensure that all New Englanders have access to sustainable, wholesome food. They strengthen local food systems by supporting new farmers.
If given the choice between spending time at a farmers market or a supermarket, we all know which we would choose. The thing that supermarkets have to offer is cost-effectiveness. They provide food (though it may not be healthy) at great prices. New Entry Sustainable Farming Project is one of the organizations increasing community access to small farms, making the farmstead an economically viable choice.
ifarm has been working with New Entry for several years. Besides staying connected with their community collaborations, we worked with one of their program graduates, Sorn Un (See more about Mr. Un and ifarm here). Sorn was a skilled farmer from Cambodia, but New Entry gave him the tools and networking needed to establish his own business after immigrating to America. He leased an acre of land from ifarm for several years before moving on to other locations.
Why is it important to support new farmers?
In Massachusetts, local farming saw strong growth from 2002 onwards, in opposition to the national decline in small farms. This means we have more farm stands for fall apples, more people invested in local communities, and many more hayrides, Halloween pumpkins, and corn mazes for children.
This growth is wonderful, but it is not sustainable unless these new farmers can prosper. Massachusetts farmland may be popular, but it is also some of the most expensive in the nation. New Entry provides the training, mentorships, and networking that make local farms sustainable. They host public events to get recognition for new farmers. They are also running a new special Massachusetts license plate program as a tax-deductible way to invest in local farms.
The national agricultural trend is not favorable for small farms. Our nation is moving towards more food deserts: more areas where it is difficult to access affordable or good-quality fresh food. Imagine living in an area where you have to drive an hour to have access to a small farm and its apple picking. This is not an impossibility. There is a large demand for fresh food in Massachusetts, but the new generation of local farmers need training and support if they are to meet that demand.
New Entry remedies the gap between farmer’s dreams and their proficiency. The project was formed in 1998 to help immigrants and refugees with farming skills to integrate into local communities. In time they broadened their approach to assist all beginning farmers, regardless of their background. New Entry also operates World PEAS, a foundation that provides $85,000 of fresh food to low-income individuals each year.
In short, we like their style and love what they offer to our communities. Food is one of those universal needs that brings people together. It is an essential resource that can form the backbone of a community. Let’s keep growing our communities and the systems they rely on!
Click below to learn more about New Entry’s Tax Deductible License Plate