We’re excited to announce that despite funding setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic we were able to award grants to three small farms in an amended 2021 grant cycle. Grants totaling nearly $15,000 were awarded to farms and agricultural nonprofits on the East Coast, West Coast, and South/Central regions of the U.S. for environmental sustainability projects. This year The Community Fund considered semi-finalists from the 2020 grant cycle. A majority of funds were directed to those most vulnerable during this time, including farmers of color, women farmers, and farmers who are veterans. Additionally, these farms are actively increasing low-income food access in an effort to directly contribute to community food security.
“Small American farms play a key role in local economic and environmental prosperity and the sustainability project we’re funding will have long-lasting impacts on both the individual farms and their neighboring communities,” said Sheila Cassani, project director for The FruitGuys Community Fund. “We are humbled to continue to provide this critical funding and grateful that the selected farms are thriving despite the challenges over the last year.”
The 2021 grantee farms, ranging in size from three to eight acres, will use the funding for projects that help support pollinator plantings, incorporate egg-laying hens alongside sustainable fruit and vegetable production, and a solar well transition to reduce energy costs for a pasture-raised animal operation.
Meet our 2021 Grantees
Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden located in Southwest Philadelphia, PA, is a 4-acre community-led, African-focused urban farm that grows and distributes 15,000 pounds of produce each year. The pandemic underscored the essential nature of the farm and the growing need for continued efforts to support neighborhood food sovereignty, invest in local youth and families, and ensure safe outdoor space for all. Their $5,000 grant will be used to enhance their pollinator plantings, beehive maintenance, and related youth educational programming.
Petaluma Bounty is a multifaceted community food security initiative that includes the Bounty Community Farm in Petaluma, CA, a 3-acre urban educational farm that grows sustainable, local food for low-income families, seniors, and individuals. Their $4,995 grant will allow them to purchase supplies to add chickens to their fruit and vegetable operation. The addition of a mobile chicken coop with a solar powered fence and automatic door opener will allow them to rotate egg-laying chickens into their crop rotation, minimize mowing (Green House Gas Emissions) in non-cultivated spaces, interrupt pest life cycles in the orchard and growing areas, provide natural fertilizer and minimize organic losses when produce goes bad, as well as provide eggs at our various sliding scale sales outlets. Additionally, this will allow them to incorporate animal husbandry to our educational programming and site where hundreds of children visit annually.
4MG Farm is a veteran owned and operated, 11-acre family farm located in Sanger, TX. In 2017, Kevin and Christina Via started their community driven Regenerative farm focusing on biodiversity and holistic methods of growing soil to produce a self-sustaining ecosystem to provide beyond organic food and educate the public about the benefits of a pasture-raised animal operation. To expand on their regenerative farming system, 4MG Farm will use their $5,000 grant to convert their well to a 100% solar well for irrigation, pasture management and high tunnel management.
We at The FruitGuys Community Fund are excited to see our 2021 grantees successfully kick off their projects. Grantees will provide regular informal project updates, as well as submitting a formal interim report in December and a final progress report in July 2022. We look forward to seeing their projects realized and hearing stories about the impacts on their farms and their communities.
Farmers are under unprecedented pressure from drought, wildfires, and the pandemic. Please consider donating to support the 2022 grant cycle and help make a big impact on a small farm.