The Food To Bank On Program (FTBO) is designed to give beginning farmers the tools and resources they need to succeed. Over three years, “rookie” farmers have access to a variety of benefits and resources. Since the program began in 2003, 58 farmers have participated.
1. Business planning workshops – The eight-week series runs semi-monthly from January through April. Participants will learn how to write a business plan, develop an innovative marketing concept and strategy, and evaluate production costs and economic returns to their business for different crops and livestock they choose to produce. FTBO participants have opportunities to discuss various business planning topics in more depth and hear presentations from mentor farmers.
2. Mentorship with an experienced farmer – This has proven to be one of the most valuable and appreciated components of FTBO. Mentor farmers are chosen early in the program to ensure each participant has plenty of time to work with them. Mentor farmers agree to provide at least eight hours of their time throughout the season for anything from phone consultations to in-person meetings to farm tours.
3. Payments to deliver food to local hunger relief agencies – FTBO partners with various food banks, soup kitchens, and shelters throughout Whatcom County to get fresh, healthy food to those who need it most. Farmers in the FTBO program receive up to $1000 worth of payments from the FTBO program throughout the year to deliver their products at market rates to these partners.
4. Marketing support through the Food & Farming Program – New farmers who are accepted into the FTBO program receives a free membership in Sustainable Connections for as long as they continue to meet the program requirements. This membership entitles you to a free listing in the Eat Local First Food & Farm Finder and our Wholesale Product Directory, as well as free attendance at Food & Farming Program events; including workshops, the NW WA Farm-To-Table Trade Meeting, and buyer networking events. We also feature FTBO farmers regularly in our Eat Local First e-newsletter and provide 11″ x 17″ laminated posters that you can use to promote your business.
Meet The Farmers!
Pollen Folly Farm is a small family farm that believes in growing healthy nutritious foods by utilizing sustainable biodynamic and organic practices. We offer a wide selection of vegetables, berries, pastured eggs, and culinary herbs.
We specialize in heirloom vegetables grown organically on our 5-acre farm in Ferndale, Washington. We also raise heritage breed chickens, ducks, rabbits, and pigs.
Wild Acres is a family farm dedicated to producing top quality, organic, non-GMO, pasture-raised meat, and eggs for Whatcom County and surrounding regions.
We are a young family using only organic and bio-dynamic practices to grow clean nutritious food for our community.
A 2.5-acre WSDA Certified Organic Farm 12 miles East of Bellingham, at the south fork of the Nooksack River.
Silver Creek Farm is dedicated to regenerative farming. Providing quality, specialty greens, vegetables and fruits using organic methods in Whatcom County.
Foothills Flowers is a diversified flower farm just east of Bellingham, Washington.
We grow flowers organically for wholesale, florists, and grocery in the Pacific Northwest.
More info coming soon!