Situated on a sprawling 42-acre plot in Emmaus, Lehigh County, The Seed Farm offers budding farmers training opportunities, access to land, equipment, and assistance to kickstart their agricultural ventures. Our Farm Business Incubator program invites those with business plans to set their farming dreams in motion right on our grounds. Here, they not only grow and market their unique products but also enjoy the benefits of reduced rates for land, equipment, and infrastructure. To ensure their ventures thrive, we pair these incubator farmers with seasoned local mentors and The Seed Farm staff. Our hands-on training encompasses essential areas for farming success, including equipment operation, production planning, food safety, and beyond.
In 2019, The Seed Farm became part of local nonprofit Community Action Lehigh Valley and a program of Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania.
The Seed Farm (TSF) was initially developed by Lehigh County and Penn State Cooperative Extension with the support of a three-year USDA grant.
A primary goal of the organization for Lehigh County was to support the farmland preservation program by cultivating the next generation of farmers to take over Lehigh County’s preserved farmland. Since 1989, Lehigh County has invested over $23 million (along with $55 million of state funds) to preserve over 26,000 acres of farmland. With its MOU with The Seed Farm, Lehigh County dedicated the use of the Seem Seed Farm to protecting that substantial investment by training new farmers to strengthen our food security and local economy while protecting our natural resources.
Since 2010, TSF has provided intensive, full-season training in production, marketing, business planning, and equipment operation to over 30 beginning farmers who are looking to start farms; and eight farm businesses have been launched in our agricultural incubator, which is located on the farm site in Upper Milford Township. Additional experiential and educational activities have enabled us to deliver valuable skills in sustainable agriculture practices to hundreds of farmers, gardeners, and community members.
The Seed Farm’s unique mission and impact have led to the ongoing support of the community. In addition to our programming, The Seed Farm’s annual Farm-to-Table Dinner and Spring Plant Sale are much-anticipated events that bring together foodies, farmers, and gardeners in support of a shared goal: ensuring the future of agriculture.
In 2019, The Seed Farm took a big step to serve a wider audience and secure a more financially sustainable future by merging with Community Action Lehigh Valley. At that point, Lehigh County transferred the MOU for the site to Community Action, and the training and incubator programs became part of Second Harvest Food Bank. The Seed Farm, now invigorated with a dynamic and financially stable parent organization, is poised to protect Lehigh County’s preserved farmland, yield significant ongoing and additional economic benefits to the local agricultural community, and launch farm entrepreneurs while providing better access to fresh food in the Lehigh Valley.
COMMUNITY ACTION LEHIGH VALLEY
The mission of Community Action is to improve the quality of life in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas by building communities in which all people have access to economic opportunity, the ability to pursue that opportunity, and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.
We offer programs and services in Food Access and Nutrition, Housing, Neighborhood Revitalization, Business Start-Up and Development, Youth, and Advocacy.
To learn more about how you can get involved, follow us on Instagram at @CommunityActionLV or visit our website at CommunityActionLV.org.
SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK
At Second Harvest Food Bank, we believe that food is a human right, and our community can only thrive if each person has their basic needs met. We work with over 200 community partners, including food pantries, schools, shelters, and community centers to distribute food in six counties throughout Pennsylvania: Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne.
As a food bank, our goal is to ensure that our community has access to food; greater than that, we strive to provide participants with nutritious food so that they can lead the healthiest lives possible. In addition to providing food to the community, we offer nutrition education, advocate to end food insecurity, and work to attain food justice.
Second Harvest Food Bank has partnered with The Seed Farm to bring fresh, nutritious, and local produce to the Lehigh Valley and surrounding county pantries.