PRO*ACT's Kathleen Weaver Discusses Cultivating Change as Winners are Announced
MONTEREY, CA - Greener Fields Together™, the sustainability and local produce initiative created by PRO*ACT, has announced the winners of the first Cultivating Change grant program. I spoke with PRO*ACT’s Supply Chain Sustainability Manager Kathleen Weaver about what the program does, and how it affects the produce industry.
“Essentially what we’re doing is putting money back into the pockets of local farmers throughout the United States,” Kathleen tells me during our audio interview. “We are giving away funds this year in a total of $60,000 in fund increments of $3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 dollars, and we’re funding projects that focus on infrastructure improvements, capacity building, sustainability—it’s really a myriad of projects we’re funding.”
Kathleen explains to me that there are two ways to be chosen as a winner of a grant—being chosen by an industry panel, or being selected via peer review.
The industry panel included the following members:
- Nova Sayers | NSF | Business Development - Global Food Division
- Johnna Hepner | PMA | Director Food Safety & Technology
- James Barham, Ph.D | USDA Rural Development | Agricultural Economist
- Jim Ebersold CSW CSS| Purchasing Manager | Ted’s Montana Grill
- JoAnne Berkenkamp | Tomorrow’s Table LLC | President
- Glenda Yoder | Associate Director | Farm Aid
The peer review process takes place entirely on social media, Kathleen says. “That same application is publicly available and its shareable through social media,” she says. “The farmer who has the most votes, wins. So the folks in that $3,000 and $5,000 bracket—thats where the online voting comes into play.”
The winners of each type of grant include the following:
“As a local farm friend, we’re going beyond just buying product, but we want you to be able to expand to that second acre, or buy that farm implement that’s been out of reach, or get that truck that you need so that you can service more customers,” she adds. “We really are making investments.”
The 2016 grant program will be open from September 1st first through October 31st, with even more money on the line, Kathleen concluded.
For more information about the Cultivating Change program, listen to my full interview with Kathleen Weaver at the top of the page.