Smith, Katherine; Ostrom, Marcia
Farm incubator programs have been presented as a solution to reduce barriers to entry for beginning farmers. While various forms of the farm incubator model have been documented in the literature, the significance of community capital building in the development of viable beginning farm businesses through farm incubator programs has not been investigated. Our participatory research with the bilingual, organic Viva Farms Incubator partnership in Western Washington shows how a farm incubator program can facilitate access for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers of different races and cultures to access financial capital and markets through the development of social capital. In this case, cross-cultural capacity building appears to be both an end result and a necessary condition to connect diverse, new-entry farmers with education, farming infrastructure, and markets.