In addition to Farm Aid’s work throughout the year to build a thriving family farm-centered system of agriculture, Farm Aid funds family farm and rural service organizations through our annual grant program. We view our grantees around the country as critical on-the-ground partners in the movement to keep family farmers on the land, producing good food for all.
In 2021, Farm Aid granted just less than $1 million!
Farm Aid made grants totaling $972,000 in 2021, the majority of which were made during the month of December to 86 family farm, rural service and urban agriculture organizations in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Grants ranged from $2,500 to $50,000. Farm Aid’s grantmaking priorities for 2021 included work that supports family farmers, that works to achieve racial equity and social justice, that prioritizes farmer-led solutions to climate change, and that builds power for systemic change in our farm and food system.
Farm Aid’s grantmaking process is a collaborative one that allows all Farm Aid staff members to participate. This annual process allows Farm Aid staff to understand, witness and support the good work that is going on all across the country to support family farmers, fight for equity and justice, and empower rural communities.
“As farmers continue to face incredible threats to their survival, our grant decisions were guided by the need to first and foremost strengthen organizations that provide essential resources to keep family farmers on the land. We are so grateful for the hard work and commitment of folks across the country who fight for family farms.”
— Willie Nelson
In 2021, Farm Aid invested funds in programs that:
- Help farm families stay on the land with crisis support to farmers in the form of farm advocates, legal support, mental health & social services, hotlines, emergency funds, and more;
- Build farmer power to advance policy solutions like dairy supply management, fair pricing, fair access to credit, and anti-trust policies that will advance long-lasting structural change;
- Develop resilient systems of agriculture, advance on-farm climate change mitigation and adaption practices and advance farm-based solutions to climate change in state and federal policy;
- Address systemic inequities in the farm and food system, specifically for farmers of color;
- Advance rural organizing and community-building strategies;
- Dismantle corporate control in agriculture and advance democratic power-building for farmers;
- Stop the establishment or expansion of factory farms and advance state and federal policies that protect local communities and ecologies from the impact of factory farms;
- Build and strengthen local and regional food systems and raise awareness of their value;
- Enhance access to good food in low-income and food-insecure communities by building relationships between family farmers, youth and community members;
- Recruit and train beginning farmers—both rural and urban—and increase their access to farmland; and
- Support farmer transition to organic, sustainable and regenerative farming techniques.
Additionally, Farm Aid made grants in the following areas of work:
Farm Aid Emergency Grants
Emergency grants totaling $24,000 were made throughout the year to farm families to cover essential household expenses. These emergency grants are recommended on a case-by-case basis by Farm Aid’s hotline operators, who answer calls on the 1-800 FARM AID farmer resource line and connect farmers with helpful services, resources and opportunities specific to their individual needs.
Farm Aid Disaster Grants
In the spring, Farm Aid granted $38,000 to partner organizations in Texas and Oklahoma to provide immediate support to farmers affected by the historic winter storm Uri. In August, Farm Aid made a grant of $25,000 to support farmers impacted by historic drought and wildfires in California. Also in August, Farm Aid made a grant to support COVID relief efforts for BIPOC farmers in the Northeast. Farm Aid continues to work with partners across these region to assess the long-term needs of impacted farmers and ranchers.
Farm Aid Scholarships
Through a scholarship fund set up in 1987 by the Younkers Department Store, Farm Aid awards scholarships annually to students studying agriculture at South Dakota State University, University of Nebraska and Iowa State University. In 2021, scholarships were awarded in the amount of approximately $20,000.
Growing the Good Food Movement
Creating and implementing innovative programs that build local and regional food systems and connect farmers directly to consumers.
Agricultural Justice Project, Gainesville, FL: $7,500 to empower farmers and farmworkers through domestic fair trade, providing farms with verified fair labor practices, marketing and promotion resources so that they can differentiate their products to attract customers who increasingly demonstrate concern for social justice in the food system through shopping choices, as well as providing family farms with tools and resources that build collaborative, sustainable farm teams.
Angelic Organics Learning Center, Caledonia, IL: $7,500 grant to support three program initiatives. The Farmer Training Initiative provides sustainable farmers with farmer-led business and production training programs essential for establishing successful businesses. The Urban Initiative links food production, job-readiness training, leadership development and community education for disinvested communities. And the On-Farm Initiative develops the next generation of consumers ensuring the demand for sustainably produced food will continue to open and improve markets for sustainable farmers.
Appalachian Sustainable Development, Duffield, VA: $7,500 to support the Central Appalachian Food Corridor. The purpose of this effort is to connect more farmers with wholesale markets and to provide them with the training and technical assistance they need to compete successfully in these markets.
CitySeed, New Haven, CT: $7,500 to support CitySeed’s network of Farmers Markets, which increases economic viability for 40 local farmers and small food businesses in Connecticut, and to help CitySeed launch a new weekly Farmers Market serving the Dixwell neighborhood of New Haven, a historically Black neighborhood.
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, South Deerfield, MA: $7,500 to support climate resiliency work with local farms.
Dreaming Out Loud, Washington, D.C.: $7,500 to expand procurement of agricultural products from their farmer network composed of 70% women, 60% farmers of color; production of 100,000 units of healthy, meals and produce for vulnerable populations; and for the creation of an integrated pipeline to jobs, economic opportunity, and community wealth-building for our most marginalized communities, utilizing the food system as the catalyst.
Farm Fresh Rhode Island, Providence, RI: $7,500 for efforts to create strong local markets for regional farms. Farm Fresh facilitates over $6M in commerce for local farms and food producers annually through the management of 6 farmers markets, a wholesale/retail aggregation and distribution program and a small-scale production kitchen.
Green Village Initiative, Bridgeport, CT: $7,500 to build a just food system in Bridgeport, CT that benefits growers of color and families through entrepreneurial support and increased opportunities to access fresh, Bridgeport-grown food.
GrowNYC, New York, NY: $7,500 to provide access to healthy, fresh, locally grown food for all New Yorkers and support family farms in the Northeast.
Hartford Food System/Connecticut Food System Alliance, Hartford, Connecticut: $7,500 to solicit input and policy priorities from Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Color (BIPOC) farmers and farm business leaders to be used in the development of a Food Action Plan for Connecticut, as well as to build a stronger network farmer network in the state.
KNOX, Hartford, CT: $7,500 for efforts to provide underemployed, beginning farmers with land, training, mentoring, and connections to enter careers as farmers in the agricultural industry or start their own farming businesses through the KNOX Urban Farming Program.
Local Food Hub, Charlottesville, VA: $10,000 to support a project that increases market access for and meets the unique needs of Black farmers through a farmer-driven Virginia Black Farmer Directory and the establishment of an annual gathering of Black farmers.
Mino Bimaadiziiwin Tribal Farm (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa), Bayfield, WI: $10,000 to support increased food access by developing a sliding scale CSA model and continuing to provide fully subsidized weekly CSA shares to Red Cliff elderly.
Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG), Kingston, NY: $7,500 to support programmatic work, including hosting the annual It Takes a Region conference, communications and information sharing, promoting equity and racial justice in the food system, and policy advocacy.
The Southwest Georgia Project, Albany, GA: $12,000 to support the development of infrastructure to support underserved farmers and communities, including a community service hub that will provide an anchor market for family farmers and increase food access for vulnerable communities.
Helping Farmers Thrive
Providing farmers with support and resources to start farming, transition to more sustainable farming practices and/or continue farming in the face of financial crises and/or natural disasters.
Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA), Salinas, CA: $7,500 to provide training, assistance and subsidized access to land, and equipment to help new organic family farms get started.
The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet), Athens, OH: $7,500 to support family farmers, beginning farmers, women, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers in Appalachia Ohio present, share and learn from one another as the region strengthens regenerative agricultural practices and climate smart policies in our regional food economy.
The Carrot Project, Boston, MA: $7,500 to promote a just, equitable, and vibrant farming system by providing business technical assistance to agricultural entrepreneurs, particularly those from historically marginalized communities.
Connecticut Farmland Trust, Hartford, Connecticut: $7,500 to support a social media campaign to increase CT FarmLink’s visibility with Connecticut farmers and farmland owners to increase farmer access to land and preserve Connecticut’s working farmland.
Cultivate Kansas City, Kansas City, MO: $7,500 to grow food, farms, and community in support of a sustainable and healthy local food system for all. We believe that growing and sharing local food nurtures our ability to care for each other and the world in which we live.
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Cameron, Texas: $7,500 to develop and launch a new program to teach civic engagement skills to youth, using farming and food issues as the cornerstone.
Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG), Saint Paul, MN: $30,000 to address legal needs of family farmers by providing free legal services to family farmers in need, including underserved and BIPOC farmers; guiding farmers and their rural communities through the legal maze of COVID-19 relief and recovery programs; and helping farmers access federal assistance programs, including those built around emerging farm and rural policy and climate change.
Farmworker Association of Florida, Apopka, FL: $7,500 to support the Building Local Food Systems in Farmworker Communities program, which engages farmworkers and prospective farmers in rural communities in central and south Florida. The program aims to increase small-scale food production in farmworker communities; increase low-income community members’ access to and consumption of affordable, naturally produced/organic foods; and raise awareness about the importance of producing and consuming fruits and vegetables that are locally grown, using methods that conserve natural resources.
The Food Group, New Hope, MN: $7,500 for land-based organic and sustainable agriculture education for farmers who have historically been underrepresented in farm ownership, including BIPOC, women, and New American farmers.
Food Works, Carbondale, IL: $7,500 to support a network of sustainable family farmers in offering peer-to-peer education and networking opportunities that help beginning, intermediate and established farmers.
Grow Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA: $7,500 to expand their urban farmers in training and youth markets program to include the Wilkinsburg community. We work to increase access to fresh food for residents in need, while providing high school students with hands-on farming and market experience.
Holistic Management International, Albuquerque, NM: $7,500 to provide farmers with resources, experiential opportunities, training, and support in regenerative agriculture via Open Gate Field Days, Regenerative Agriculture workshops, and online training to help them thrive as they work to begin farming or transition to regenerative farming in a safe and incremental way.
Hunger Task Force, Inc., Milwaukee, WI: $7,500 to support the bridge between the successful Dairy Recovery Program and the USDA’s Dairy Donation Program, programs created to provide healthy dairy products to those in need while simultaneously supporting the Wisconsin dairy farmers facing the threat of closure due to the pandemic.
Intertribal Agriculture Council, Billings, MT: $12,000 to support the establishment of the Beginning Farmer & Rancher Liaison & Outreach Coordinator, who will collaborate on the design of the nationally renowned Ranching for Profit professional development experience, specifically designed to fold in the nuances of ranching in Indian Country.
The Land Connection, Champaign, IL: $7,500 to support the growth of our suite of farmer training and support programs. This work will accelerate the transition of the Illinois landscape out of chemically-intensive production and create the mechanisms to ensure that new and beginning farmers are able to access ground to grow their sustainable businesses.
Land For Good, Keene, NH: $7,500 to provide individualized land access and farm transfer advising, coaching and referral services to beginning, established, and transitioning farmers and farm families in New England.
Land Stewardship Project, Minneapolis, MN: $12,000 for efforts to train a new generation of farmers, promoting sustainable, climate smart farming practices, facilitating discussions about racial justice in rural communities, and advocating state and federal policy reforms.
The Livestock Institute, Westport MA: $7,500 to increase the quality and quantity of pasture-based livestock production in Southern New England by assessing small pasture-based farms’ forage and soil management and offering recommendations for improvement based on each farms’ unique system.
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Unity, Maine: $7,500 to support service providers and farmers in addressing two major challenges: solutions to climate change and social justice in agriculture. This will be accomplished through farmer advised and/or lead workshops, trainings, cross organizational conversations, forums and cohorts.
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, East Troy, WI: $7,500 to continue offering free, one-on-one advising about funding resources, informing Midwest farmers, especially underserved farmers, about federal, state, and private funding resources.
Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), Spring Valley, WI: $7,500 for the development of educational resources and programming that support organic and sustainable farming methods for small-scale farmers in the Midwest.
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Butte, MT: $7,500 to provide hands-on technical assistance to small farmers, beginning and new farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, farmers of color, and veterans wishing to become farmers.
Nebraska Rural Response Council and Hotline, Lincoln, NE: $12,000 for support of the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline, which provides emergency food pantry assistance, AgrAbility for families impacted by disabilities, farm finance, bookkeeping, and legal assistance, legal services, mediation services, and mental health vouchers.
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, Beverly, MA: $7,500 for efforts to foster resilience in local, regional and national food systems by training a new generation of farmers to produce food that is nutritious, culturally connected and accessible to all individuals.
North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers Land Loss Prevention Project, Durham, NC: $20,000 to support robust legal representation, technical assistance and policy advocacy to preserve land tenure and farm businesses, advance sustainability, and promote greater equity in and access to farm programs for BIPOC and limited resource producers.
Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), Santa Cruz, CA: $7,500 will support OFRF’s efforts to increase organic acreage as a climate change solution through stronger investments in organic research, education, and federal policy.
Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, Harrisburg, PA: $7,500 for efforts to equip farmers with the knowledge, experience, and tools they need to operate financially viable, environmentally sustainable, and socially just farm businesses as they face a changing climate, a global pandemic and shrinking viable markets.
Practical Farmers of Iowa, Ames, IA: $7,500 to support a project that will strengthen PFI’s network and relationship-building to include and support farmers of color, and increase land access education and outreach to support land seekers in feeling ready to establish a vision and goals for their farms.
Quivira Coalition, Santa Fe, NM: $7,500 to support the New Agrarian Apprenticeship Program, which provides eight month apprenticeships in regenerative ranching and farming in the intermountain west. The program trains the next generation of land stewards and food producers to successfully manage rangelands in a changing climate while restoring the health of ecosystems.
Red Tomato, Providence, RI: $7,500 to build a market position for Eastern-US, Local and Eco-grown–and- certified crops that is recognized and well-understood by ‘thought leaders,’ produce category managers, and decision makers; and that leads to increasing sales and new market opportunities for Eco growers in both wholesale and direct supply chains.
Rogue Farm Corps, Oregon: $7,500 to train and equip the next generation of farmers and ranchers through hands-on educational programs, one-on-one technical assistance, protecting Oregon’s farmland, and advancing equity in agriculture.
Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI), Pittsboro, NC: $20,000 to support the Farm Advocacy program, to increase racial equity, farm viability and sustainability, and to create systemic change for small and mid-scale farmers.
Sustainable Food Center, Austin, TX: $7,500 to support our Farm Development Services efforts, which tailor resources for small and midsized agricultural producers to ensure the viability of their farm businesses and their sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices.
Wisconsin Tribal Conservation Advisory Council (WTCAC), Oneida, WI: $10,000 to support training opportunities through travel assistance for up to nine new Tribal Farm Apprentices to attend credit and financial management trainings, USDA programs workshops and field trips to the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) on-farm workshops such as Managing Climate Change with Organic Practices.
Taking Action to Change the System
Working to promote fair farm policies and/or grassroots organizing campaigns to defend and bolster family farm agriculture on a local, regional or national level.
Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, Birmingham, AL: $10,000 to build farmer leadership, organizing infrastructure, and grassroots power in Alabama, to make systemic change towards a more just and resilient agricultural system.
American Agriculture Movement Inc., Accokeek, MD: $7,500 to support AAM’s Youth Ag Ambassador Program, providing education for the next generation of farmers and ranchers.
Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative, Minneapolis, MN: $7,500 to support movement building strategies that fight for a just food and farm system where we invest in sustainable, independent family farms to bolster rural economies, safe and dignified jobs to ensure future generations can live and thrive in their own communities, and bold federal policies that foster fair markets.
California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN), Sebastopol, CA: $12,000 for advancing state and federal agricultural policy solutions to the climate crisis.
Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, Nebraska: $7,500 to advocate for robust funding for two U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that serve socially disadvantaged, beginning, and veteran farmers with training, education and other technical resources.
Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Davis, CA, $7,500 to support a project to secure state support for small farmers impacted by the drought and to protect small farms in the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in California.
Community Farm Alliance, Berea, KY: $7,500 to ensure Kentucky farmers continue to have a voice in the policies that impact them most, through facilitating grassroots dialogue, community organizing, and leadership development.
Dakota Rural Action, Ancestral lands of the Oceti Sakowin (the Dakotas, South Dakota): $7,500 to stop Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) from being sited in rural South Dakota while supporting and establishing pasture based regenerative systems.
Dakota Resource Council, Bismarck, ND: $7,500 for efforts to build a system of agriculture that benefits all North Dakotans. We seek to create a system that values soil health, fair markets, local food, and strong rural communities. We work to make sure family farms thrive, connect farmers and eaters and ensure our food system is just.
Fair Farms, Takoma Park, MD: $7,500 to support our campaign to increase black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) farming and farm-land ownership in Maryland. The funds will be used for educational webinars, regulation development and networking with allied farming groups.
Family Farm Defenders, Madison, WI $7,500 to support family farmers in their ongoing grassroots organizing using the principles of food sovereignty, agroecology, and fair trade for an equitable just transition across our entire food/farm system.
Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Albany, GA: $50,000 to support The Federation’s Advocacy Institute, which will provide culturally relevant advocacy training to a cohort of the Federation’s members in seven states in the southern region so they can lead necessary policy reforms to promote local, state, and federal legislation that achieves equity for Black farmers and landowners.
Friends of Family Farmers (FoFF), Walterville, OR: $7,500 to perform a comprehensive survey and focus groups for small and midsize, socially and ecologically responsible farmers, with data ultimately used to develop statewide policy priorities for statewide action in 2023 and empower farmers to become leaders in their communities.
Kansas Farmers Union, McPherson, KS; $7,500 to continually fight for family farmers through education, grassroots advocacy and legislative action to nurture profitable and environmentally responsible farming for the benefit of family farms and local communities.
Idaho Organization of Resource Councils (IORC), Boise, ID: $7,500 to expand efforts to build a long-term organizing plan and implementation for Latinx farm workers in the state.
Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Springfield, IL: $7,500 to train local food farmers in organizing and change-making and through the process, advance state and federal policies for just and regenerative food systems that build the health and wealth of Illinois communities.
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), Minneapolis, MN: $7,500 to support changes in our farming and food system that respond to the climate crisis, expand community-based food access and markets, and re-orient trade rules to prioritize rural communities over multinational corporations.
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Des Moines, IA, $12,000 to support grassroots organizing to protect family farms, rural communities, drinking water and the climate from the economic and environmental destruction caused by corporate factory farms.
Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Columbia, MO: $12,000 to organize a diverse farm and rural base of 5,000 farm and rural families that are civically engaged at the local, state and national levels to address social and economic injustice in rural America through democratic engagement and advocacy.
National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), DC and Gloucester, MA: $20,000 to organize farmers and ranchers around policies that can lead to a food system that is free of corporate domination, economically just for all food providers, and accessible to all who need to eat.
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), Washington, DC: $12,0000 for general operating support to organize opportunities for the voices of family farmers – many of whom rely on the federal programs that we have helped to create, implement, and protect – to be heard by decision makers.
The National Young Farmers Coalition, Hudson, NY: $7,500 to equip young and BIPOC farmer leaders in our nationwide network with the resources, organizing, and policy advocacy infrastructure they need to drive structural change and win a more equitable future for US agriculture.
The Northeast Organic Farming Association, with chapters in CT, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT: $15,000 to establish policy partnerships between state chapters with existing, paid policy staff and those without, in order to build state-by-state and region-wide policy capacity and better organize advocacy efforts of and on behalf of northeast organic farmers.
Northern Plains Resource Council, Billings, MT: $7,500 to improve long-term viability for family farmers and ranchers through strategies like market reform, soil health advancement, local food promotion and addressing the impacts of fossil fuels.
Ohio Ecological Food & Food Association, Columbus, OH: $7,500 to engage farmers in a state soil health campaign that will overlap with base building for the Agricultural Resilience Act and the 2023 Farm Bill.
Organic Farmers Association, Spirit Lake, IA: $7,500 for grassroots efforts to identify the challenges and opportunities of domestic organic farmers to advocate for a more just and ecological food system that prioritizes organic production for its social and ecological benefits and expands access to organic food and farming to all communities.
Oregon Rural Action, La Grande, OR: $7,500 to expand grassroots farmworker-led organizing in rural eastern Oregon to increase food security, worker health and safety, and strengthen rural communities.
Organic Seed Alliance, Port Townsend, WA: $7,500 for implementing a federal policy platform for seed that aims to decentralize power in our seed systems and increase the supply of organic seed, while centering racial equity and social justice.
Powder River Basin Resource Council, Sheridan, WY, $7,500 to support a project that increases the market for independent food producers while increasing access to healthy, local foods for underserved populations; and builds a network for communication, cooperation and education among regenerative ranchers.
Real Food Challenge, Boston, MA: $7,500 to transform the role of universities in our food systems to one that directs dollars to small-scale, family-owned, and BIPOC-owned farms.
Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural, Washington, DC: $12,000 to support public policy monitoring, technical assistance, capacity-building, participatory collaborative research, and education to secure the best possible outcomes and forge innovative, community-driven solutions with the grassroots communities they serve.
Rural Vermont, Montpelier, VT: $7,500 for organizing, education, and advocacy that moves Rural Vermont closer to their goal of building collecting power to transform the food system and uplift the agrarian communities that connect us all.
Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, Spencer, IN: $15,000 for general operating expenses to support work assisting rural residents, independent farmers, and community groups across the country with the education, issue advocacy, and organizing needed to protect their right to clean water, air, and soil and to a healthy, just, and vibrant food future.
West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition, Charleston, WV: $7,500 to support farmers as they identify, articulate, and advocate for agricultural and food system change at the West Virginia state legislature and with the West Virginia congressional delegation.
Western Colorado Alliance for Community Action (WCA), Grand Junction, CO: $7,500 to increase family farmers and ranchers’ ability to understand, access and implement agriculture practices that support regenerative agriculture and enhanced soil health throughout the Western Slope of Colorado.
Western Organization of Resource Councils Education Project (WORC), Billings, MT: $12,000 for our agriculture and food justice campaign, which works to level the playing field for small and mid-sized independent producers, advocate for farmer and rancher driven healthy soil initiatives and support essential farm workers in their fight against exploitation and unsafe working conditions.
Wisconsin Farmers Union, Chippewa Falls, WI: $7,500 to support a project that supports farmers who are fighting against unfair corporate consolidation in agriculture through grassroots education and organizing, supportive strategic messaging, and travel stipends that allow them to advocate for themselves in Madison and Washington D.C.