PRO*ACT Announces Cultivating Change Local Farm Grant Program Winners
MONTEREY, CA – Awarding $75,000 in grants this week is PRO*ACT’s Cultivating Change Local Farm Grant Program, with 11 local farmers walking away with the winnings. These farmers are being recognized for their initiatives, improving safety, efficiency, and/or their operations’ sustainability. Since its 2015 launch, Cultivating Change has awarded over $200,000 to 38 farms in 18 states. The program is garnering much attention, with over 100 applications for the competitive program submitted this year. This competition inspires farmers to create and implement better safety, sustainability, and growth plans moving forward.
With the Grand Prize’s $20,000 winnings, Choctaw Fresh Produce in Phildelphia, Mississippi, will construct raised beds to expand production on tribal lands with poor soil quality. The organization was selected by a panel of industry professionals, including of Chef Rick Bayless of Frontera Restaurants; they reviewed and scored applicants’ projects that were geared toward the improvement of marketing, infrastructure, capacity building, or certifications.
PRO*ACT’s goal, according to CEO Max Yeater in a recent press release, is to “really ‘cultivate change’ in communities through effective support of these local farmers who provide fresh produce, jobs, and inspiration to those they serve. It’s our hope that these investments provide the needed support for them to continue to grow.”
Throughout all 50 states, tens of thousands of people took part in the voting process, supporting farms that are integral to their communities to boost those farms, their products, and their needs. A total of $55,000 of grants funds were given to six project proposals, and five more outstanding winners received funds ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 through popular vote. Industry professionals near and far are ecstatic over the recognition and the opportunity to build better practices and practice safer measures.
“Our team was amazed by the quality of the applications, ingenuity of projects, and ultimately enthusiasm from the community,” said Anne Nichols, Sustainability Manager for Greener Fields Together.
Past winners have used their winnings to procure new equipment, implement conservation efforts, educate the community, install automation systems, build new facilities, grow production square footage, and launch innovative sustainability programs, showing the wide-reaching effect PRO*ACT’s program has on the nation’s farming community.
Wanting to participate in the Cultivating Change competition for 2018? Applications are being accepted as of October 1st, and you can find a list of profiles, winners, and rules on the website.