SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Just in time for Mother’s Day, women farmers dominate the winners of annual farm grant awards for environmental sustainability projects. A majority of the 17 farms and agricultural nonprofits awarded are owned or led by women who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC).
More than 250 applicants proposed sustainability projects costing up to $5,000 that conserve water, support pollinators and natural pest control, extend growing seasons, mitigate climate change impacts, increase soil health, and provide local food access. This is The FruitGuys Community Fund‘s tenth year of providing small grants that have big positive impacts on farms’ sustainability and their communities– and bring critical support to under-represented farmers. One of the only providers of small grants to farms in the country, a volunteer grant review committee followed the Fund’s farming manifesto criteria and recommended 17 farms and agricultural nonprofits in 11 states.
These 17 grantees will receive $71,136 in funding, thanks to donors to our Help Farms, Help our Planet campaign and a critical program sponsorship from Aramark. Aramark, the Philadelphia-based food, facilities, and uniforms provider, specifically supported a group of not-for-profit BIPOC farmers and agricultural projects and has committed to sponsoring a similar number of BIPOC farms for the 2023 and 2024 grant cycles.
Ten Years of Small Grants with Big Impacts
“This class of grantees exemplifies what we founded The FruitGuys Community Fund to do–support small farms and agricultural non-profits that can make big impacts with small amounts of money,” said Chris Mittelstaedt, Founder & CEO of The FruitGuys, a produce provider to offices, schools, and homes nationwide, which established the nonprofit Community Fund from its Farm Steward project. “This group also highlights the innovative and creative ways that women farmers approach agricultural and climate change problem solving. If these grants act as a small seed that allows farmers and agricultural leaders to grow larger impact, then we are accomplishing what we set out to do. We are deeply grateful to all those who have contributed over the years to the Fund.”
2022 By the Numbers
Total grantees: 17
Women led farms: 16
BIPOC led farms: 13
Agricultural nonprofits: 10
Family for-profit farms: 7
States supported: 11
Acres supported: 93
The Class of 2022 Grantees At a Glance
Grantees will report on their projects’ progress in August and December of 2022. You can read more about their projects on The FruitGuys Community Fund blog.
Agroecology Commons, a 1-acre agricultural nonprofit in El Sobrante, CA, will install drip irrigation, build a hoop house, and add bee hives that will be part of their Bay Area Farmer-to-Farmer Training Program that supports local BIPOC, queer, and fem beginning farmers.
Carlson’s Island View Orchard, is a fifth-generation family farm in Sister Bay, WI. They will replace their drip irrigation system, repair their hoop house, purchase strawberry and raspberry plants to diversify their crops, and establish native Mason bee colonies for pollination.
Cooperation Operation, a 2-acre agricultural nonprofit on the south side of Chicago, will purchase a shipping container and coolbot to process and store produce in a food safe environment that will allow them to increase the amount of produce donated.
Costello Urban Farm is a 1-acre agricultural nonprofit in Lawrence, MA that employs local high school students to plan, grow, and harvest produce that is donated to local food banks or sent home to youth’s families. They will repair their broken drip irrigation system.
EARTHseed Farm, a certified-organic, solar-powered 14-acre permaculture-based agricultural nonprofit in Sebastopol, CA, will install a rainwater catchment system they expect will provide up to 1,000 gallons of water each year that will be used to irrigate their orchard and become part of educational tours.
Farm to Fight Hunger, a 2-acre agricultural nonprofit in Healdsburg, CA, donates 100% of everything it grows to fight food insecurity in Sonoma County. They will plant a 300-foot long hedgerow of native, drought-tolerant plants, fruit, and nut trees.
Huerta del Valle is a 10-acre agricultural nonprofit in Ontario, CA that provides community farming plots and a CSA. They will upgrade their produce processing and cleaning station, which will help conserve water, reduce waste, and improve food safety.
Movement Ground Farm is a 5-acre agricultural nonprofit in Tiverton, RI with a special focus on crops catering to South East Asian and Chinese immigrants and refugees. They will purchase 12 Katahdin lambs for grazing and meat.
Over the Moon Farm & Flowers is a 4-acre farm in Coggon, IA run by two young queer women farmers. They will purchase electric poultry net fencing and plant trees, perennial flowers, and shrubs for a windbreak.
Philly Forests is a 3-acre farm in northwest Philadelphia, PA, that also donates trees, shrubs, and perennials for free to residents living in low canopy areas. They will replace hand watering with a drip irrigation system.
Red H Farm, a 2-acre farm in Sebastopol, CA, will add a drip irrigation system to support production of their sliding-scale winter CSA program, plant perennial edible and pollinator-focused hedgerows, and build a caterpillar tunnel.
Sakari Farms is a 3-acre tribal food and education farm in Bend, OR that will build raised beds for a demonstration garden to grow native and traditional Camas, Wapato, and Makah potatoes for harvest and educational purposes.
SongHaven Farm, is a 4-acre farm in Cahone, CO. They are building an energy efficient underground greenhouse known as a Wallipini, the first one in the area for commercial use. This structure will conserve water, provide wind protection, and house their vermicomposting operation.
Soulflower Farm, is a 2-acre organic-certified biodynamic permaculture farm in El Sobrante, CA that also teaches herbal medicine and permaculture design. They will establish a rainwater catchment system; improve their compost system; bring sheep and goats to demonstrate a closed loop animal system; and add beehives and chickens.
Stonefield Farm of Boston Area Gleaners is a 25-acre agricultural nonprofit in Acton, MA. They will plant native hydrophilic trees, including willows and red maples, to absorb excess water in areas of poor drainage and plant native pollinator plants.
Urban Food Forest at Brown Mill Community Garden, a 1-acre agricultural nonprofit in Atlanta, GA, will replace hose watering with pre-fabricated irrigation grids for 30 of their 39 raised planting beds. The irrigation grids will save water and prevent disease.
5 Loaves Farm, a 1-acre agricultural nonprofit in Buffalo, NY, will replace sprinklers with drip irrigation, build a new hoop house, add pollinator plantings, and subsidize a number of CSA shares for at-risk youth interns and their families.
About The FruitGuys Community Fund
2022 marks the tenth anniversary of The FruitGuys Community Fund, a fiscally-sponsored non-profit project of Community Initiatives. The FruitGuys established the Fund in 2012 out of its Farm Steward project. From 2012-2021, we’ve awarded 88 grants totaling more than $341,000 dollars to small-scale U.S. farmers in 30 states for sustainability projects that have large positive impacts on the environment, local food webs, and farm diversity. If you’d like to support more small farms, please donate to our Help Farms, Help Our Planet Campaign. @FGCommunityFund
–FruitGuys Community Fund