RENATA, the National Network of Farm incubators (Réseau National des Espaces-Test Agricoles) aims at promoting farming experiments or incubator farms as a way to make entry info farming easier.
Farming experiments or farm incubators enable prospective farmers to develop a life-size farming activity, in an autonomous way, during a limited time period, and in an environment designed to reduce risk-exposure. At the end of the time period, the prospective farmers evaluate their project and themselves, to decide whether to continue their project, modify it or abandon it.
A farm incubator has three main functions:
• Incubator - a legal framework providing the legal basis for the farming activity
• Nursery - the provision of the production tool (land, buildings, equipment)
• Mentoring - a scheme to train, support and advise the future farmer
Members of RENETA are organisations (associations, public bodies, etc.) which offer a place and environment for farming experiments. They refer to the principles of solidarity-based economy and people’s education.
RENETA has 3 main lines of action:
• exchanging practices and consolidating skills (through meetings and seminars, collaborative tools, training activities, publications...);
• mentoring and expertise (through advice and support to facilitate the setting-up of new places for farming experiments) ;
• research and social innovation.
Farm incubators are multi-stakeholder initiatives involving various stakeholders: agricultural and rural development associations, people’s education associations, business incubators, business cooperatives, agricultural institutions, local authorities, agricultural colleges, etc. There are currently 58 farm incubators in RENETA, each of them specific in its stakeholders, legal statutes and ways of working.