About the Resource Spotlight
This blog shines a spotlight on some of Farm Aid's favorite resources, tools and other timely opportunities for family farmers and farm advocates.
Also be sure to check out the rest of Farm Aid's Farmer Resource Network, to search through our online directory of farm service providers nationwide, read about some of our farmer heroes, or contact Farm Aid staff for direct assistance.
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Help Us With Your Feedback
Greener Fields Together is a local and sustainable produce program which helps farmers make capital investments and infrastructure improvements through Cultivating Change, a local farm grant program. Greener Fields Together donated $60,000 to farmers throughout the country in 2016 so that farmers can focus on farming and, for a fleeting moment, not be burdened by the weight of the food system.
Congratulations to farmers that received grants! Learn more about some of the winning projects here:
Since 1996, the USDA’s Community Food Project Grant Program (CFP) has been supporting the alleviation of food insecurity in low-income communities through projects which:
- Promote community self-reliance in meeting their own food needs;
- Encourage comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues;
- Meet food needs through food distribution, community outreach to assist in participation in Federally assisted nutrition programs, or improving access to food as part of a comprehensive service; and
- Meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs including needs relating to equipment necessary for the efficient operation of a project, planning for long-term solutions, or the creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.
Earlier this week the USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) posted a Request for Applications (RFA) for the next round of CFP funding. $8.64 million dollars of funds are available. The turnaround time to submit an application is very tight, with applications due no later than 5:00 pm EST on November 30, 2015.
The application process often takes more than two weeks to complete, which is why we need your help!
Do you know of organizations or efforts in your community with experience in:
Community food work, particularly concerning small and mid-sized farms, including the provision of food to low-income communities and the development of new markets in low income communities for agricultural producers;
Job training and business development for food related activities in low-income communities or;
Efforts to reduce food insecurity in the their community, including food distribution, improving access to services, or coordinating services and programs?
If so, please forward this post and make them aware of this great opportunity!
For this round of funding, three types of grants are available:
Community Food Projects, examples of which include community gardens with market stands, value chain projects, food hubs, farmers’ markets, farm-to-institutions projects, and marketing and consumer cooperatives. All projects must involve low-income participants. The maximum Community Food Project award in a single year is $125,000 and the maximum award over four years is $400,000.
Planning Projects, examples of which include community food assessments’ coordination of collaboration development, GIS analysis, food sovereignty study, and farm-to-institution exploration. All projects must involve low-income participants. The maximum Planning Project award is $35,000 for the total project period. The maximum grant period is three years.
Training & Technical Assistance Projects, examples of which include workshop training, peer-to-peer interaction, one-on-one training, assistance with evaluation, webinars, and/or video-conferencing. All projects must involve low-income participants. The maximum Training & Technical Assistance Project award in a single year is $250,000. The maximum award over a two-to-four year period is $500,000.
Farm Aid is collaborating with New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and additional partners to provide free one-on-one technical assistance and resources to applicants. If you are interested in receiving assistance, please fill out this intake form.
There are three upcoming webinars available to help prepare applicants:
General CFP Information(Hosted by USDA): Thursday, October 22 at 2:00 pm EST – Go here to join
Grants.gov for CFP Applicants (Hosted by New Entry): Monday, October 26 at 1:00 pm EST – This webinar will review the process of getting set up in Grants.gov for the first time. This webinar is geared towards those who have never submitted an application on Grants.govor would like a refresher. For new users to Grants.gov, the registration process can take as long as 2 weeks to complete, making it critical to begin the registration process as soon as possible. Register here
Evaluation component of CFP Application (Hosted by New Entry): Wednesday, October 28at 1:00 pm EST – We will review the requirements for the evaluation component of the CFP application. We will review logic models and talk about Whole Measures and Indicators of Success. This webinar is geared towards those with less experience in evaluation or those who would like to learn more about CFP specific evaluation. Register here
Only electronic applications will be accepted via Grants.gov. For new users to Grants.gov, the registration process can take as long as 2 weeks to complete, making it critical to begin the registration process as soon as possible.
To learn more about inspiring Community Food Project grants, past and present, check out this great Digital Storytelling site.
The Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), a nonprofit organization that promotes humane production of meat, milk and eggs, is now accepting applications for its Fund-a-Farmer grant program.
Fund-a-Farmer grants award eligible farmers with up to $2,500 to execute projects that will improve the welfare of their farm animals. This year FACT is especially interested in granting to independent, animal-welfare-oriented farmers wanting to transition to pasture-based systems or improve animal access to pasture.
Click here to learn more about Fund-a-Farmer grants and download the application form.
Applications are due by November 3, 2015.
The fund provides direct financial assistance to certified organic producers and processors/handlers who have suffered losses in 2015 due to extreme hardship.
- Certified organic operation currently in good standing (valid organic certificate required for consideration)
- Have not received CCOF disaster or hardship funding in the last three years
- Have experienced severe economic loss in the 2015 calendar year
- Can submit documentation or supporting evidence of economic loss resulting from the hardship (required for consideration)
- Can submit a copy of receipt for organic certification fees paid in 2015 (by any accredited certifier)
- Have not received federal assistance for the same loss
Applications are due to CCOF Foundation by October 23, 2015.
The national produce distributor, Pro*Act, recently launched a new grant program (“Cultivating Change”) for local farmers through its Greener Fields Together initiative.
Farmers may apply for Cultivating Change grants ranging from $3,000 to $10,000. Grants may be used to cover farmers’ expenses in four key areas:
Obtaining Certifications: Organic, Non-GMO, Biodynamic, Fair Trade, Food Safety
Strengthening Infrastructure: Reusable Plastic Containers(RPCs), Delivery Vans, Refrigerated Trucks, Equipment
Building Capacity: Food Safety/GAP Improvements, Continuing Education
Marketing / Communications: Upgrade Labels/Cartons, Marketing Materials, Website/Social Media Support
Applications will be accepted from September 1 through October 31, 2015. Visit Cultivating Change’s webpage for more information on eligibility requirements and how to apply.
We’re excited to announce that this year we’ll again be helping the Beekman Boys give away the profits from their Mortgage Lifter Pasta Sauce to strengthen family farmers! If you’re a farmer in need of a lift, apply now!
Can a jar of pasta sauce help save small farms in America? When it’s an heirloom tomato sauce that returns 25% of its profits to farmers, it just might. Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge – best known as The Fabulous Beekman Boys from their television reality show – launched their “Beekman 1802 Mortgage Lifter Pasta Sauce” back in 2013. The sauce’s name was inspired by a Great Depression-era heirloom tomato variety named “Mortgage Lifter” because its bountiful harvest helped farmers pay off their mortgages!
The idea was to create a delicious food product that gives back. Last year, Josh and Brent give away more than $15,000 to four farms, and this year they’ll be giving away more than $18,000!
On May 1st, one lucky small farm will net a $15,000 check, which the pair calls the “Grand Prize Lift.” Three other farms will also receive $1049 “mini-lifts.” Small farms can learn more and apply for the “lifts” on beekmanmortgagelifter.com.
An expert panel of agricultural judges (Farm Aid among them!) reward the farms based on their innovative approach to small agriculture, their overall business plan, and their current growth pattern. These awards are designed to give vibrant small farms the ‘lift’ they need to take their business to the next level.
Mortgage Lifter Pasta Sauce is produced locally, in Schenectady, using tomatoes grown at Denison Farms in Schaghticoke, NY. Denison Farms is set to grow the next crop of Mortgage Lifter heirloom tomatoes this summer (and, incidentally, supplied farm-fresh produce to Farm Aid for our HOMEGROWN Concessions at Farm Aid 2013 in Saratoga Springs, NY).
The humane farming and food safety nonprofit, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), is providing scholarships to cover registration expenses at select sustainable agriculture conferences this year. Humane livestock and poultry producers who are currently employed by a working, independent family farm are invited to apply.
- EcoFarm Conference, Pacific Grove, CA – January 21-25, 2015
- PASA Farming for the Future Conference, State College, PA – February 4-7, 2015
- OEFFA Annual Conference, Granville, OH – February 14-15, 2015
- MOSES Organic Farming Conference, La Crosse, WI – February 26-28, 2015
- Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference, Atlanta, GA – March 28, 2015
Please note: Funding is very limited! Apply now!
The US Department of Agriculture announced last week that new added protections are available for fruit, vegetable and specialty crop growers under the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. The new options were built into the 2014 Farm Bill and are meant to specifically address natural disasters that impact specialty crops.
The USDA’s press release further explained:
“Previously, the program offered coverage at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Producers can now choose higher levels of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price.”
To learn more about the program, you can visit this Web tool created by the USDA in partnership with Michigan State University and the University of Illinois.