PRO*ACT Proudly Announces 14 Winners of Its Cultivating Change Local Farm Grant Program
- by Robert Schaulis
MONTEREY, CA - PRO*ACT is giving back to local producers with its Cultivating Change Local Farm Grant Program. To date the program, launched in 2015 and funded by PRO*ACT distributors, has awarded $325,000 to 52 small farms in 18 states, and this week, the PRO*ACT announced 2019’s 14 winners—offering $85,100 in grants and funding projects including solar panels, bee habitats, irrigation systems and more.
PRO*ACT CEO Max Yeater shared PRO*ACT’s goal 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,” Yeater noted.
According to a PRO*ACT press release, more than 140 farms of all shapes, sizes, and from all across the U.S. submitted applications. 14 winners looking to expand, improve, streamline operations were awarded grants.
This year, winners represented in all four categories that the program’s participants can enter under: marketing, infrastructure, capacity building, and certifications. Winning projects including packing shed improvements, establishing a bee colony, and a new tractor purchase. Each was chosen by a panel of industry professionals,who carefully reviewed and scored all projects.
“Our team was amazed by the quality of the applications, ingenuity of projects, and ultimately enthusiasm from the community,” stated Anne Nichols, Sustainability Manager for Greener Fields Together. Nine project proposals, representing over $65,000 in grants, were selected by panel review, and six additional outstanding winners, who each received from $2,000 to $10,000 in grant funds, were chosen via popular vote. Arizona Microgreens, Reeves Family Farm, Dawson’s Orchard’s, and Merchants Gardens were all awarded grants of $10,000 or more.
With over 27,000 voters casting more than 100,000 votes, communities rallied around their local farms. Participants from all 50 states were involved, and voters showed support to farms that are meaningful to their communities—resulting in exposure for these farms, their products, and needs.
In its press release, PRO*ACT noted its commitment to seed-to-fork sustainability and how it’s reflected in generous investments in some of the nation’s finest farms. Past winners of the Cultivating Change Local Farm Grant have used the grant funds to purchase new equipment, implement conservation efforts, educate the community, install automation systems, construct new facilities, increase production square footage, and launch sustainability programs.
For more information on how to participate in the Cultivating Change competition, visit www.cultivatingchange.org.