For more information on Lansing Roots, contact Program Manager Benjamin Sommers at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 853-7813.
• Increases the number of small-scale producers growing for market
• Improves community food security
• Generates fresh foods for donation to the GLFB
Socially-disadvantaged individuals looking to help themselves by starting a viable business by:
- Receiving access to land
- Accessing basic farm supplies, training, technical assistance and cooperative marketing
- Gaining the ability to provide for themselves and their family
The Greater Lansing Food Bank:
- Through a Demonstration Farm, produce will be grown and donated
- Reduced long term need for assistance through the impacts of self-sufficiency and community support
The greater Lansing community through:
- Food security by having more farmers
- Health benefits of more access to fresh produce
- Economic benefits of more and diversified food businesses
The Lansing Roots program will offer participants land to start a business at the Lansing Roots farm, as well as, opportunities for training workshops that will involve growing techniques, business planning, individual consultation, marketing and other such farm related services.
Lansing Roots will provide participants:
- Plots up to ½ acre in size. 1st year plots will be ¼ acre (roughly 100’ x 100’)
- One time annual field preparation as well as referral to additional tractor services (tilling, etc) for hire
- Rototiller and other small engine equipment for rent
- Access to hand tools, seeders, backpack sprayer, and other small-scale farming tools
- Pooled resources for supplies at cost such as row cover, irrigation, mulch etc.
- Access to water through a head-pipe for drip irrigation
- Pre-season planning assistance and as needed consultation on growing techniques
- Trainings and workshops on topics such as: proper tool maintenance, 4 season hoophouse growing, Integrated Pest Management, crop-specific growing, season extension strategies, marketing, crop planning, business and enterprise planning, food safety and proper handling techniques, etc.
- Access to space within a shared hoophouse; beginning Fall 2013
- Cooperative marketing opportunities through: food hubbing, shared market stands, wholesale, etc.
Participants in Lansing Roots will:
- Commit to paying minimal rental fees for space and services
- Commit to attempt growing for commercial sales
- Participate in at least 75% of major monthly workshop sessions
- Alternative trainings will be offered frequently to supplement options
- Follow all farm guidelines and follow the farmer manual
- Meet with staff to review successes and challenges and plan for future production changes
- Participate in Lansing Roots farmer meetings
- Maintain accurate and detailed farm log of production and costs, with support
- Grow in accordance to NOP (organic) standards
Lansing Roots will charge a nominal fee for a plot at the incubator farm, which will allow access to water, basic field prep, access to basic tools, workshops and trainings, and a fixed amount of in-field technical assistance. Some additional services will have a fee associated with them to help teach good business practices. The fees will be scaled depending on income, length of time in the program, and other important factors. Participants will have the option to assist with the Demonstration farm to cover some of their costs.
A large component of Lansing Roots is creating viable farm enterprises. It costs money and time to run a business and by charging a small fee for services, Lansing Roots will teach business planning, budgeting and time management.
Lansing Roots program is intended to serve primarily limited resource and socially disadvantaged (as defined by the USDA) populations such as refugees and immigrants, low-income farmers and beginning farmers. A minimum of 70% of participants must be from these groups.
The ideal candidate for the program and to access land at the Lansing Roots farm:
- Farming background or training
- Farmer training program, intensive apprentice experience, agricultural background from country of origin, multiple seasons of successfully growing in community gardens, etc.
- An interest in developing an independent small scale farm enterprise, yet needing some technical and business assistance
- An interest and desire to grow for sales and market
- English proficiency or access to reliable translation services
An application is being developed for those interested in the program. Please note, the above are examples of ideal traits, but are by no means all-inclusive or necessary. If you are interested in the program and are not sure if you’re a good fit, please contact us.
The Lansing Roots program will provide farmers with assistance finding markets and selling their crops. All farmers will be invited to participate in marketing workshops, learn about legal requirements and insurance, and offered technical assistance from the program’s Marketing Coordinator. Lansing Roots will support the local food system by facilitating direct sales of crops to local consumers, restaurants, and institutions.
For over thirty years, the Garden Project (GP) of the Greater Lansing Food Bank has been supporting local community and home gardens. With a network of over 90 community gardens, the GP served over 5000 gardeners in 2012. For years some gardeners have been looking to scale up their production space, and learn to market and sell crops. At the same time, the GLFB recognizes the increased demand for local produce. Lansing Roots will serve as a complement to the Garden Project’s on-going support for community gardens by encouraging successful gardeners and interested entrepreneurs to develop farm enterprises, and by lowering the barriers to success.
Lansing Roots hosts individuals and volunteer groups at the demonstration farm. We also provide opportunities for interested individuals to volunteer or intern on a longer-term or seasonal basis.