Beginning Farmer Incubator Program

Pushing the Envelope is committed to supporting new farmers as they build their credentials as agricultural community members and business people. The Beginning Farmer Incubator Program is designed to give young growers the opportunity to gain critical experience running a small-scale sustainable operation in a resource sharing environment. The program provides organically managed agricultural land and farm infrastructure with on-site housing, access to ongoing education, and the opportunity to live with other young sustainably-minded farmers. Pushing the Envelope Farm believes that farming is a personal experience and is dedicated to working with individual participants to help them meet their project vision.

The farm incubator provides much of the infrastructure needed to run a small farm operation, including:

  • On-site living accommodations - air conditioned housing with room, communal living space and kitchen, full bath, washer/dryer, and parking.
  •  Up to ¼ to 2 acres of organically managed land per participant
  • Tractor, hand-tool, and other equipment use
  • Greenhouse and hoop-house space
  • Tool shop and building space
  • Produce washing area
  • Refrigerated storage for produce
  • Proximity to local Fox Valley and Chicago area farmers’ markets and restaurants

Life at the Farm Incubator

The farm incubator provides a unique opportunity for new farmers to live together and support each other, as residents share machinery and farm infrastructure while maintaining separate enterprises. As an extension of the cooperative ethic, residents are asked to help build community awareness about sustainable farming by providing a monthly community outreach event. Events can be anything such as screening an environmental film, hosting a group weeding session, or teaching a cooking workshop.

How the Program Works

Space at the incubator includes all infrastructure and housing, and runs from January 15 - December 15, with the possibility for renewal. Prices vary depending on acreage and room, with the average price at $450/month. Accommodations for couples and shared rooms are possible. Need-based scholarships are available.

To Apply

Contact us with letter of introduction to arrange an interview at or call 630.578.3313 for more information.


"A Young Generation Sees Greener Pastures In Agriculture" on NPR Jan. 3, 2015