Small, independent, and family-run farms need all the help they can get, as evidenced by the record number of applicants for The FruitGuys Community Fund’s 2016 sustainable agriculture grants: in a 55 percent increase from last year, 110 farms and agricultural nonprofits from across the country detailed sustainability projects aimed at increasing pollinators; conserving soil, water, and energy; and increasing harvests and food access to low-income communities.
Last year, the Fund awarded eight grantees from California to Maryland a total of $35,643. For 2016, the goal is to award an additional five grants by raising $10,000 through Barnraiser, a crowdfunding site focused on agriculture and food-related projects. The campaign launched on February 22.
Since 2013, The FruitGuys Community Fund, a nonprofit, fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives, has awarded $85,643 in small grants (up to $5,000 each) to 21 farms across the country. Farmers say that small grants can have big impacts. “The pollinator beds did a fantastic job of attracting beneficial insects! We have never seen so many native pollinators in our lives,” said Matthew Sylvester, farmer and co-owner of Happy Acre Farm in Sunol, CA, a 2015 grantee.
People interested in supporting sustainable agriculture for small, independent farms are encouraged to support our Barnraiser campaign or volunteer to be a grant reviewer. No experience is necessary, and all reviews can be done remotely. To apply, go to our volunteer questionnaire.
Sheila Cassani is GoodWorks Ambassador for The FruitGuys.