Oct. 25 2022 08:36 AM

Brighter Future Fund Provides Grants Up to $5,000 to Help Farmers

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American Farmland Trust will begin accepting applications on November 1 to help farmers nationwide improve farm viability, access, transfer or permanently protect farmland or adopt regenerative agricultural practices. The last day to submit applications is November 14.

AFT’s Brighter Future Fund provides grants of up to $5,000 per project. A project may involve one or more individual farmer(s) or farm families, and projects will be awarded on a one-per-farm basis. In 2022, the fund will uplift, support, and amplify farmers who have been historically underserved by prioritizing applications from beginning farmers, women farmers, and/or BIPOC and LGBTQ+ farmers who have had limited access to financial resources in the past.

“Farmers must be resilient and economically viable to help address many of the greatest challenges facing our society,” said David Haight, AFT Vice President of Programs. “The Brighter Future Fund makes small investments that have big impacts with participating farmers – particularly those who face barriers in accessing other types of support.”

The Brighter Future Fund was launched in 2020 to help farmers launch, grow, and sustain farms in the face of forces impacting the food and agricultural system, including the COVID-19 pandemic, changing markets, severe weather, and climate change. Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA), one of America’s favorite farmer-owned co-ops, helped launch the fund in 2020 and has underwritten the program ever since. In total, TCCA has donated $2.1 million to American Farmland Trust’s programming. By underwriting the program, 100% of donations are given directly to farmers.

The impacts of Brighter Future grants ripple beyond individual awardees. Microgrants help drive new solutions for resolving key challenges facing our society, by:

  • Scaling up the adoption of regenerative farming practices and increasing the resilience of farms to climate change;
  • Strengthening local food systems to be more resilient to disruptions caused by global events as well as providing equitable access to healthy food;
  • Creating greater equity in opportunities for historically underserved farmers;
  • Ensuring the availability of sufficient clean water and habitat for threatened wildlife;
  • Improving long-term farm viability and community vitality.

“As a farmer-owned cooperative, we understand the many challenges farmers face and we’re proud to continue our alliance with American Farmland Trust and other partners to assist farmers throughout the U.S.,” said Jocelyn Bridson, TCCA’s Director of Environment & Community Impact. “We were moved by stories of how the 2021 Brighter Future Fund recipients implemented changes on their farm to improve environmental or economic conditions and have committed to underwriting this program next year. The grants provide a small but important boost to farmers and help address inequalities by assisting farmers who have been underserved in the past including BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and/or women farmers.”

“AFT is inherently grateful for the support of Tillamook and our other partners in continuing the great success of the Brighter Future Fund,” said Ryan Lauer, AFT Director of Corporate Sponsorships. “Tillamook genuinely believes in the value of the fund and its impact on the recipients. Simply put, there would be no fund without them.”

Additional supporters of the 2022 fund include: Butcher Box, Domino’s Pizza, Giant Food, iHeart Radio, Tractor Supply Co and members of American Farmland Trust.

For Randy and Edith Woodley of Eloheh Indigenous Center for Earth Justice near Yamhill, Oregon, the grant awarded to them has proven invaluable to finish building and set up a farmstand.

“Last year, we laid a concrete foundation for our greenhouse,” said Woodley. “But this grant will help us complete that greenhouse and set up a farm stand for selling produce and eggs. We are excited by the possibilities these items will bring to the farm.”

Since 2020, AFT, with the support of Tillamook and other corporate partners and individual members, has provided approximately $3.5 million in grants directly to more than 2,000 farmers across the nation for pandemic relief, increased resilience, land access and enhanced viability. The impacts of Brighter Future grants ripple beyond individual awardees. Microgrants help drive new solutions for resolving key challenges facing our society by increasing the resilience of farms to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening local food systems, creating greater equity in opportunities for underserved farmers, ensuring the availability of sufficient clean water and habitat for threatened wildlife, and improving farm viability and community vitality.

Applications will be reviewed and awarded in the order the applications are received based on eligibility. To apply, farmers should submit a completed electronic Brighter Future Fund Application to AFT at https://farmland.org/brighter-future/.