Our grant program is one part of the year-round work of Farm Aid to bolster family farm agriculture in America. This year, we gave a total of $527,800 in grants to 66 farm and food organizations across the country, as well as emergency and disaster assistance funds to farmers facing hard times including this year’s historic drought.
The span of programs and projects we support is wide. Many of our grantees are crucial members of our Farmer Resource Network and referrals on our 1-800-FARM-AID hotline. They offer services like crisis counseling to farmers in dire straits or hands-on technical advice and training for beginning farmers. Others organizations are on the front lines of grassroots organizing and advocacy, addressing corporate control in agriculture and making sure we have fair farm policies that support family farmers and promote their good food. Still others are building new local and regional food systems, investing in farmers close to home by creating new markets and models that bridge the distance from farm field to your table.
In addition, we give special attention to farm organizations in the region that hosts our annual benefit concert. This year, Farm Aid 2012 was held in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and we granted $49,000 to Pennsylvania organizations. Grantees in Pennsylvania include Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), Rodale Institute, Lancaster Farmland Trust and The Seed Farm. The total amount distributed in the Mid-Atlantic region – including Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia – was $126,050.
Farm Aid President Willie Nelson takes great pride in this part of Farm Aid’s work, approving every grant award that goes out our door. For all of us on staff who read the many grant proposals submitted, seeing Willie sign the checks always brings a great sense of completion to the grant season.
Our heartfelt thanks goes out to all who applied. While it is always exciting to announce our fantastic list of grantees, it is just as humbling to see all the great work going on around the country that we weren’t able to fund.
For a full list of our grantees in 2012, click here.
This post was updated to correct the grant totals in the first paragraph.