American Farmland Trust announced that over 200 farmers would be receiving grants of up to $5,000 each through the Brighter Future Fund (BFF). Farmers can use these grants to help improve farm viability, enable farmers to access, transfer or permanently protect farmland, or adopt regenerative agricultural practices.
“We deeply appreciate our many supporters that made it possible for us to help more than 200 farmers across the country,” said Ashley Brucker, American Farmland Trust’s Agriculture Conservation Innovation Program Manager and national coordinator for the BFF. “These farmers’ stories are so compelling. Together, we are helping farmers do things like convert a school bus to a mobile farmers market, access legal support for legacy planning and purchase firefighting equipment to cope with wildfires in a drought-stricken area. These grants are going to improve the lives of farmers across America.”
In recognition of the need for greater equity and inclusion for all groups who have been, and still are, marginalized, the American Farmland Trust has prioritized providing resources to farmers who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+). In 2022, Brighter Future Fund prioritized support for farmers identifying as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, female, or beginning. In total, over 1 million dollars will be awarded to farmers located across 44 states and the territory of Puerto Rico.
Brighter Future Fund was initially launched with a generous contribution from Tillamook County Creamery Association, one of America’s favorite farmer-owned co-ops that understands the many challenges farmers face. Building upon their initial gift in 2020, Tillamook made an additional two-year financial commitment to the BFF.
Dani Fegan, award recipient and owner operator of Three Dogs Seed Farm, an Ojibwe-Anishinaabe woman from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan used her award to install a ground water well with a solar pump to aid in irrigation. “This is incredible and will provide our farm with security that we currently don’t have, increased resilience in the face of climate change and opportunities that just were not reasonably available to us before,” said Fegan. “Wow! Chi miigwech. Thank you so much.”
Sharon Autry, a vegetable farmer at Herdsman House Farm in Kansas will use her grant money for farm irrigation, wash stations, a green house and bed building. “Thank you so much for awarding me this grant,” said Sharon. “It really will go a long way in pushing my farm forward and increasing my ability to grow and distribute more local food.”
Since 2020, AFT has provided, in total, 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 Brighter Future Fund helps 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.