Bari Zeiger on the farm

Bari Zeiger: A Microgrant Helps a Young Farmer Close on the Purchase of Wyoming County Farm

Good timing is crucial for many aspects of farming, and for Bari Zeiger, one opportunity came at just the right time.

During the fall of 2019, Bari was preparing to purchase 12 acres of land in Wyoming County to start a farm of her own, following years of experience working on farms and deciding that she was on the right path. Soon after putting in her first offer, Bari was awarded a microgrant from American Farmland Trust, which she used to help cover the closing costs on the property. According to Bari, the grant provided a meaningful contribution which relieved financial pressure and allowed her the flexibility to pay for other necessities and emergency expenses while she fulfilled her goal of purchasing the farm property.

Bari plans to grow organic produce to serve communities in and around Buffalo, New York – but she has some work to do to prepare the land first. The land was previously cropped for hay, so there was no pre-existing infrastructure and the soil needed improvements to support vegetable production. Bari is working to build up the infrastructure and soil health over the course of a few years until she is ready to farm full-time.

While building up her farm, Bari has continued to work off-farm jobs to mitigate the risks of starting a farm of her own by providing a salary and health insurance while she spends her first years on the farm focused on observation, design, and beginning land establishment. She has recently moved closer to the farm and taken a new position as Director of Development and Administration at Providence Farm Collective. Despite the challenges created by the pandemic in 2020, Bari is making progress on the farm, including the installation of a road!

Published in December 2020