American Farmland Trust will soon open its application process for its Brighter Future Fund, which provides grants of up to $5,000 per project. The goal is to help farmer improve farm viability, access, transfer, or permanently protect farmland or adopt agricultural practices that promote good stewardship of the land.
Applications will begin being accepted Nov. 1, and the last day to submit applications is Nov. 14.
Brighter Future Fund projects 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 sought to 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.
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.
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, 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 percent of donations are given directly to farmers.
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 Brighter Future Fund money awarded to them has proven invaluable to finish building and set up a farmstand.
“Last year, we laid a concrete foundation for our greenhouse,” Randy Woodley said. “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.”
Applications for the Brighter Future Fund 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.