News Briefs

Women Growing Change: 2022 Farm Awards

BIPOC women-led farms and agricultural non-profits will use the grants awarded from the 2022 Farm Awards to complete sustainability projects this year.

Women farmers dominated the 2022 Farm Awards winners of annual farm grant awards for environmental sustainability projects. A majority of the 17 farms and agricultural nonprofits awarded are owned or led by women who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC).

The FruitGuys 2022 Farm Awards

More than 250 applicants proposed sustainability projects costing up to $5,000 each. Among those submitted were projects that conserve water, support pollinators and natural pest control, extend growing seasons, mitigate climate change impacts, increase soil health and provide local food access. Subsequently, this is The FruitGuys Community Fund‘s tenth year of providing small grants that have big positive impacts on farms’ sustainability communities– and bring critical support to under-represented farmers. As one of the only providers of small grants to farms in the country, a volunteer grant review committee recommended 17 farms and agricultural nonprofits in 11 states, following the Fund’s farming manifesto criteria.

The 17 grantees of the 2022 Farm Awards will receive a total of $71,136 in funding, thanks to donors of the Help Farms, Help our Planet campaign. Other critical funds came from a program sponsorship from Aramark. Aramark, the Philadelphia-based food, facilities and uniforms provider, supported a group of not-for-profit BIPOC farmers and agricultural projects. In addition, they have also committed to sponsoring a similar number of BIPOC farms for the 2023 and 2024 grant cycles.

Ten years of small grants with big impacts

“This class of grantees exemplifies what we founded The FruitGuys Community Fund to do–support small farms and agricultural non-profits that can make big impacts with small amounts of money,” said Chris Mittelstaedt, Founder and CEO of The FruitGuys. The FruitGuys is a produce provider for offices, schools and homes nationwide. They established the nonprofit Community Fund from its Farm Steward project. “This group also highlights the innovative and creative ways that women farmers approach agricultural and climate change problem-solving. If these grants act as a small seed that allows farmers and agricultural leaders to grow a larger impact, then we are accomplishing what we set out to do. We are deeply grateful to all those who have contributed over the years to the fund.”

2022 by the numbers

  • Total grantees: 17      
  • Women-led farms: 16
  • BIPOC-led farms: 13
  • Agricultural nonprofits: 10
  • Family for-profit farms: 7
  • States supported: 11
  • Acres supported: 93

2022 Farm Awards grantees at a glance

Grantees will further report on their projects’ progress in August and December of 2022. You can read more about their projects on The FruitGuys Community Fund blog.

Agroecology Commons is a one-acre agricultural nonprofit in El Sobrante, CA. They will install drip irrigation, build a hoop house and add bee hives that will be part of their Bay Area Farmer-to-Farmer Training Program that supports local BIPOC, queer and fem beginning farmers.

Carlson’s Island View Orchard, is a fifth-generation family farm in Sister Bay, WI. They will replace their drip irrigation system, repair their hoop house, purchase strawberry and raspberry plants to diversify their crops and establish native Mason bee colonies for pollination.

Cooperation Operation, a two-acre agricultural nonprofit on the south side of Chicago, will purchase a shipping container and coolbot to process and store produce in a food-safe environment that will allow them to increase the amount of produce donated.

Costello Urban Farm is a one-acre agricultural nonprofit in Lawrence, MA that employs local high school students to plan, grow and harvest produce that is donated to local food banks or sent home to youth’s families. They will also repair their broken drip irrigation system.

EARTHseed Farm, a certified-organic, solar-powered 14-acre permaculture-based agricultural nonprofit in Sebastopol, CA, will install a rainwater catchment system they expect will provide up to 1,000 gallons of water each year. It will also be used to irrigate their orchard and become part of educational tours.

Farm to Fight Hunger, a two-acre agricultural nonprofit in Healdsburg, CA, donates 100 percent of everything it grows to fight food insecurity in Sonoma County. They will plant a 300-foot long hedgerow of native, drought-tolerant plants, fruit and nut trees.

Huerta del Valle is a 10-acre agricultural nonprofit in Ontario, CA that provides community farming plots and a CSA. They will upgrade their produce processing and cleaning station, which will help conserve water, reduce waste and improve food safety.

Movement Ground Farm is a five-acre agricultural nonprofit in Tiverton, RI with a special focus on crops catering to South East Asian and Chinese immigrants and refugees. They will purchase 12 Katahdin lambs for grazing and meat.

Over the Moon Farm & Flowers is a four-acre farm in Coggon, IA run by two young queer women farmers. They will purchase electric poultry net fencing and plant trees, perennial flowers and shrubs for a windbreak.

Philly Forests is a three-acre farm in northwest Philadelphia, PA, that also donates trees, shrubs and perennials for free to residents living in low canopy areas. They will replace hand watering with a drip irrigation system.

Red H Farm, a two-acre farm in Sebastopol, CA, will add a drip irrigation system to support the production of their sliding-scale winter CSA program. Additionally, they will plant perennial edible and pollinator-focused hedgerows and build a caterpillar tunnel.

Sakari Farms is a three-acre tribal food and education farm in Bend, OR. They plan to build raised beds for a demonstration garden to grow native and traditional Camas, Wapato and Makah potatoes for harvest and educational purposes.

SongHaven Farm is a four-acre farm in Cahone, CO. They are building an energy-efficient underground greenhouse known as a Wallipini, the first one in the area for commercial use. The structure will conserve water, provide wind protection and also house their vermicomposting operation.

Soulflower Farm is a two-acre organic-certified biodynamic permaculture farm in El Sobrante, CA that also teaches herbal medicine and permaculture design. They will establish a rainwater catchment system, improve their compost system, bring sheep and goats to demonstrate a closed-loop animal system and add both beehives and chickens.

Stonefield Farm of Boston Area Gleaners is a 25-acre agricultural nonprofit in Acton, MA. They will plant native hydrophilic trees, including willows and red maples, to absorb excess water in areas of poor drainage and plant native pollinator plants.

Urban Food Forest at Brown Mill Community Garden, a one-acre agricultural nonprofit in Atlanta, GA, will replace hose watering with pre-fabricated irrigation grids for 30 of their 39 raised planting beds. Most importantly, the irrigation grids will save water and prevent disease.

5 Loaves Farm, a one-acre agricultural nonprofit in Buffalo, NY, will replace sprinklers with drip irrigation, build a new hoop house and add pollinator plantings. Above all, they will also subsidize a number of CSA shares for at-risk youth interns and their families.

About The FruitGuys Community Fund

2022 marks the tenth anniversary of The FruitGuys Community Fund, a fiscally-sponsored non-profit project of Community InitiativesThe FruitGuys established the Fund in 2012 out of its Farm Steward project. From 2012to 2021, they awarded 88 grants totaling more than $341,000 dollars to small-scale U.S. farmers in 30 states. The grants went towards funding sustainability projects that have had large positive impacts on the environment, local food webs and farm diversity. If you’d like to support local small farms, please donate to our Help Farms, Help Our Planet Campaign.

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