Onslow Co. growing incubator farm for learning
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JACKSONVILLE – A new type of farm called an incubator farm is popping up all over North Carolina, but crops are not the only thing they grow.
They are also growing the state's future farmers.
In Onslow County, 15 acres of land is being prepared to become an incubator farm.
Larry Kent is overseeing the program and he said the goal is to grow enough farmers to secure the future of locally grown food.
"We can meet the growing demand not only from the general public for local fruits and vegetables but from our local institutions such as our hospital and county school system,” said Kent.
Participants in Onlsow County must first pass a 20-week HELP farm class to be eligible to become an incubator farmer and that's something Sean O'Hara has already done.
"Whatever I done here I made pretty much a calendar last year of the class of what we did on this day. We planted this or that and I'm just kind of copying that on my farm and hoping that it looks as good as theirs does next year,” said O'Hara.
There are already incubator farms in Orange and Cabarrus Counties and the Center for Environmental Farming Systems is helping build five new ones in Onslow, New Hanover, Wayne, Guilford and Moore Counties.
When completed the new incubator farms will allow growers to improve their techniques before they purchase large amounts of land to create their own farm.
The crops grown at the Onslow County incubator farm will be sold at the farmers market or donated to a soup kitchen.