PRO*ACT has announced the 14 winners of its Cultivating Change Local Farm Grant Program, awarding $85,100 in grants to local farmers who have taken the initiative to improve the safety, efficiency, or sustainability of their operations. Launched in 2015, and funded by PRO*ACT’s distributors, Cultivating Change has now awarded $325,000 to 52 small farms in 18 states.
This year, more than 140 farms of all sizes submitted applications from across the United States, looking to expand, improve, or streamline operations. Congratulations to Arizona Microgreens, Reeves Family Farm, Dawson’s Orchard’s, and Merchants Gardens, who were all awarded grants of $10,000 or more!
Winning projects including packing shed improvements, establishing a bee colony, and a new tractor purchase were chosen by a panel of industry professionals, who carefully reviewed and scored all projects. This year winners were represented in all four available categories: marketing, infrastructure, capacity building, and certifications.
PRO*ACT CEO, Max Yeater, shared PRO*ACT’s goal to “really ‘cultivate change’ in communities through effective support of these local farmers who provide fresh produce, jobs, and inspiration to those they serve. It’s our hope that these investments provide the needed support for them to continue to grow.”
“Our team was amazed by the quality of the applications, ingenuity of projects, and ultimately enthusiasm from the community,” stated Anne Nichols, Sustainability Manager for Greener Fields Together. Nine project proposals, representing over $65,000 in grants, were selected by panel review, and six additional outstanding winners, who each received from $2,000 to $10,000 in grant funds, were chosen via popular vote.
With over 27,000 voters and over 100,000 votes cast – communities rallied around their local farms resulting in the highest number of votes for the program. With participation from all 50 states, these voters showed support to farms that are meaningful to their communities—resulting in exposure for these farms, their products, and needs, PRO*ACT said.
Past winners have used the grant funds to purchase new equipment, implement conservation efforts, educate the community, install automation systems, construct new facilities, increase production square footage, and launch sustainability programs.
Applications to participate in the Cultivating Change competition in 2019 will be accepted beginning on October 1. Requirements and contest rules, as well as profiles of all of our winners, can be found on the website.