verb | ac·cel·er·ate
To progress more rapidly than usual
The Georgia Organics Farmer Fund Accelerator will combine tailored on-farm investments with a customized coaching program to help selected farmers grow into a more financially sustainable operation more quickly than usual.
The Accelerator will provide selected farmers with business & financial consultants, marketing & sales experts, loan and leasing coaches, and production consultants, combined with up to $10,000 in support per farm in the form of paid apprentices, marketing materials, infrastructure and equipment investments, and health insurance premium cost-shares.
After an application is accepted, farmers will go through an intake process that will evaluate strengths and opportunities to determine the level and types of support a farm needs to truly prosper. Next, farms will be paired with their coaches and consultants and will have up to 20 hours of pre-paid consultations with those experts.
The Accelerator is free for selected Georgia Organics members and lasts one year. Accelerator alumni are eligible to apply for an additional year’s worth of support. Two years is the maximum length of time that farmers can be accepted into the program.
The application is free, but is slightly more complex than, say, an application for a Conference scholarship, and that’s because we will need more information than usual to make sure your operation is a good fit for the goals of this program, and to make sure we pair you with the right coach on the right topic. If farmers have a preferred coach other than the ones being provided, Georgia Organics will default to the coach of the farmer’s choice.
Accepted applicants must be Farmer members of Georgia Organics.
At least 50 percent of accepted members will be members of historically disenfranchised communities.
Farms cannot be in the Georgia Organics Farm to Restaurant program and Accelerator program at the same time, but both are available at separate times. The Accelerator program will accept about 10 farmers a year.
Georgia Organics Gives
Accelerator coaching available – 8 to 20 hours per farm.
- Business, accounting, taxes, and financial. Coaches to choose from include Ellen Pollishuck, Debbie Dangerfield, and Julia Shank.
- Branding, marketing and sales. Marketing firm partners include Melissa Libby and Associates.
- Loans and leases. Legal practitioner partners include The Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University and The Law Farm with Michelle Namer.
- Organic certification. Coaches to choose from include Georgia Organics staff, and Natural Born Tillers’ Cory Mosser. Please note that Georgia Organics already provides cost shares for achieving organic certification.
- Food safety. Coaches to choose from include Georgia Organics staff, National Farmers Union staff, and UGA and Georgia Dept. of Agriculture staff experts.
- Organic Production. Coaches to choose from include Georgia Organics staff, and Natural Born Tillers’ Cory Mosser.
Accelerator investments available – $500 to up to $9,650. (Accepted farmers are eligible for some or all of the following support.)
- Apprentices – $6,400 per farm ($10/Hour x 40 Hours/Week x 16 Weeks)
- Marketing materials – $1,000 per farm
- Health insurance cost-shares ($1,000/Year per farm, or $83.33/Month)
- On-farm infrastructure and equipment – up to $1,000
- Georgia Organics conference scholarships – $250
Georgia Organics Asks
- Farmers complete the application and answer any subsequent follow-up questions for admission.
- Farmers complete the USDA NIFA Farm and Ranch Health Assessment survey, with Georgia Organics staff support, prior to joining the program
- Farmers commit to spending the infrastructure funds only as outlined the Accelerator plan created with Georgia Organics staff.
- Farmers who utilize Apprentices follow a provided basic curriculum that ensures an employee’s progressive education in sustainable agriculture.
- Farmers complete three surveys on their experiences during and after the Accelerator program.
- Farmers sign a Memorandum of Understanding committing to the above requirements.
Who Should Apply
- Certified Organic operations that need a boost only a consultant can provide.
- Non-certified organic farming operations who commit to achieving organic certification and need a boost that only a consultant can provide.