Maine Farmland Trust has launched its new Farm Viability Program, which is designed help farms become more successful and to help new farms get established.

MFT will draw on a diverse network of agricultural experts and resources to help participating farmers initiate new operations, reach new markets and take other steps to enhance future success. The new program will serve MFT’s broader goal of preserving farmland by providing tools and services that contribute to the overall success of farmers.

Two recently awarded grants, one a Quality of Place grant from the Environmental Funders Network and the other a Community Food Projects grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will support MFT’s efforts to lead a coalition of partners in innovating new projects under this program.

“It is not enough to simply preserve farmland for future availability. We need to offer programs that help to ensure the success of the stewards that are actively engaged in keeping the land agriculturally productive” said Mike Gold of Unity, whom MFT has hired to coordinate the program. Gold will be working out of a newly established MFT office in Unity, in the heart of the region where many of the initial projects will be focused.

The goals going forward will be not just to preserve farmland but to revitalize village centers, boost local farming and use community-based strategies to improve food security. The project will take advantage of increasing interest in local farm products, while simultaneously responding to surging local demand for emergency food assistance.

Maine Farmland Trust is a membership-based organization dedicated to preserving Maine’s working farmland and providing services to help farms stay in production. To learn more about MFT or the Farm Viability program visit mainefarmlandtrust.org or call 338-6575.