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US: Sustainability grants available to small farms

Small farms and agricultural nonprofits looking to fund environmental sustainability projects that reduce water and power use, increase pollinators, improve soil health, promote natural pest control, or extend their growing season can apply at no cost for a 2019 grant from The FruitGuys Community Fund beginning Monday, December 10, 2018.

Grants ranging in amounts from $2,000–$5,000 will be awarded to 10–20 farms in spring 2019. Interested farmers should read the eligibility requirements and submit a letter of intent describing their farm and proposed project before midnight on Friday, January 11, 2019. Twenty finalists will be notified by February 5, 2019, and provided with a supplementary application—due by February 25, 2019. The 2019 grantees will be notified on or before April 5, 2019.

In 2018, 13 farms in 11 states received awards totaling $47,534 for projects such as installing solar power systems, establishing beehives and beneficial insect habitats, extending the growing season, and building unique composting systems. The 2018 grantees are located in California (x2), Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin (x2). Some of the farms are traditional family farms; others train aspiring female farmers, help settle refugees, and grow produce on city rooftops, respectively.

The FruitGuys Community Fund, established in 2012, grew out of The Farm Steward Program started by The FruitGuys, a South San Francisco–based family-run provider of fresh fruit and healthy snacks to businesses nationwide. Between 2008 and 2011, the Farm Steward Program gave grants to small farms for environmental sustainability efforts. In 2013, the Community Fund awarded its first five grants to farms in California and Pennsylvania.

For more information, contact Sheila Cassani, project manager, The FruitGuys Community Fund at 510-541-4806 or [email protected]

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