Grants Available to Farmers in Pacific Northwest

Published online: Dec 15, 2021 News
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An anonymous local donor gave $50,000 to the Pacific Northwest Region of American Farmland Trust’s Brighter Future Fund. Thanks to stakeholders who stepped up to match that gift, the region now has over $100,000 in grants available to help farmers throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho improve farm viability, access, transfer or permanently protect farmland or adopt regenerative agricultural practices. AFT started accepting applications for the program this week.

The 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 only one grant can be awarded per farmer/farm family. In 2021, the fund will only award grants to farmers who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) women, and/or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+). The funds can be used to help farmers access professional services and pay for equipment or infrastructure costs.

“One of AFT’s biggest priorities in the Pacific Northwest is to help a new generation of farmers get on land and succeed in agriculture,” said Addie Candib, AFT Pacific Northwest Regional Director. “But we know that access to capital can be a major barrier to success. While $5,000 may not sound like a lot, it can be just the boost that is needed to help a farmer scale up, increase efficiency or plan for long-term resilience.”

The Brighter Future Fund was established 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) will make an additional two-year financial commitment to the Brighter Future Fund, building upon its initial gift in 2020.

“As a farmer-owned cooperative, we understand the many challenges farmers face and we’re proud to continue our partnership with American Farmland Trust 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 2020 Brighter Future Fund recipients implemented changes on their farms for better environmental or economic resilience and we have committed to underwriting this program the next two years. The grants provide a small but important boost to farmers and help address inequalities by targeting funding to farmers that have been underserved in the past including BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and/or women farmers.”

Additional supporters of the 2021 fund include: 72andSunny, Assembly, Barilla, Butcher Box, Food 52, Haus, Olympia Provisions, QVT Financial, Tractor Supply Co., and Vox Media. 

“The ability to align resources in a way that directly helps farmers is deeply gratifying,” said Haley Fenton, AFT Pacific Northwest Philanthropy Officer. “I’m so inspired by the AFT donors across the region who have chosen to support the Brighter Future Fund and our local producers. This is an investment that pays dividends for all of us across the Pacific Northwest. Contributions of all sizes have made an impact, and it’s not too late to contribute.”

For Randy and Edith Woodley of Eloheh Farm & Seeds in Yamhill, Oregon, the grant awarded to them in 2020 has proven invaluable in helping them use regenerative farming, animal husbandry and wild-tending systems to improve the Earth.

“We started our vision over 20 years ago to help others reconnect with Mother Earth and understand how everything works together in nature,” said Edith. “We are so excited and grateful by the possibilities this grant will allow us to bring to the farm.”

Since 2020, AFT has provided approximately $2.5 million in grants directly to more than 2,000 farmers across the nation for pandemic relief, increased resilience, land access and enhanced viability.

Applications will be reviewed and awarded in the order the applications are received based on eligibility. AFT will continue to receive applications and make awards until available funds are expended. To apply, farmers should submit an electronic Brighter Future Fund Application to AFT at https://farmland.org/brighter-future/.