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2021 Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Grant Fund Now Accepting Applications

Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA) is pleased to announce the second round of grants from its Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Fund. RAFI-USA’s Farmers of Color Network Fund provides support to farmers for new and innovative agricultural projects and ideas that will increase farm viability, support community food sovereignty efforts, preserve traditional and cultural farming practices, as well as assist local food economies.

This project is funded in part by a three-year grant of $675,000 to support the Farmers of Color Network from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, as well as funding from The Fund to Build Grassroots Power at Windward Fund, the Seeds, Soul and Culture Fund/New Field Foundation, and a grant from an anonymous donor-advised fund at The Chicago Community Foundation

The geographic priorities in 2021 include the states of North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, but applications from across the Southeastern region will also be given consideration. 

Some examples of projects supported by the 2020 Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Fund include conversion of existing infrastructure into new innovative uses; infrastructure purchases to expand scale of operation; rotational grazing; mobile refrigeration and refrigeration for expanded on-farm processing; season extension infrastructure; cooperative projects in which two or more farmers collaborate around a specific product and/or market; as well as cultural/heritage projects which are focused on preserving and continuing a specific agrarian tradition.  To learn about 2020 grantee projects, click here.

Interested farmers of color must apply using an Online Application. The deadline for applying is Friday, February 12 at 6:00 p.m. and grant awardees will be announced in late-March.

Instructions

Who is Eligible

Farmers who are agriculturally dependent and who have viable ideas for innovative agricultural projects to increase farm sustainability are eligible for the program. Our geographic priorities in 2021 are North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, but we are also considering applications across the Southeastern Region.

Guidelines and Eligibility Criteria

Funds are awarded on a competitive basis. You must submit an application in order to be considered for funding support. You will need to download a copy of the application and complete the application on your computer.

We fund innovative, replicable on-farm projects that: demonstrate an ability to increase farm sustainability; establish new markets for local products and services; develop new uses for existing greenhouses, farm facilities, and equipment; add value to existing farm products by developing innovative processing, packaging, or marketing; and make optimal use of on-farm and natural resources.

Priority will be given to

Farmers who have limited access to other funding or lending sources

Farmers whose project proposal would have the greatest projected impact on their surrounding community

Farmers who are located in or serving economically distressed communities

Farmers and farm production that has been adversely affected due to Covid-19

High priority will be given to innovative projects that show a new direction or opportunity for farmers

We offer Funds for

Individual Farmer Projects: Awarded to eligible farmers or farm enterprises. ($6,000)

Refrigeration/Storage/Processing: Projects that involve refrigerated storage (mobile or on-farm storage), and on-farm and mobile processing. ($8,000)

Collaborative Farm Projects: Collaborative projects involve the participation of at least two eligible farmers as described below. ($10,000)

Farmer Eligibility

To qualify as an eligible farmer, you must:

Earn a significant amount of your personal income from your farm operation

Be at least two years into production in your farming operation

Be able to show a demonstrated need for funding.

Mandatory Instructions and Deadline

-Applications must be typed in the RAFI-USA Farmers of Color Network application form. (If you need support on application, staff at RAFI-USA can assist you.)

-One application per farm

-Application deadline is 6:00 p.m. Friday, February 12, 2021

PLEASE NOTE: Incomplete progress will not be saved on this application form. Please begin this application when you are ready to complete it in whole and submit. A copy of your completed application will be emailed to you after submission. We suggest copying (cut and paste) the application into a Microsoft Word Document to work on the questions on your own time frame, then returning to the application when you are ready to complete and submit.

Questions?

You may contact Tahz Walker at 919.548.6825 or Laketa Smith at 919.548.8591 with questions or for assistance.