In partnership with a growing list of regional food banks and pantries, Future Harvest is addressing food shortages while aiding small- to mid-scale farmers through its Feed the Need Fund.
The campaign is called #GivingTuesdayNow and it began fundraising May 5. It has already surpassed its original fundraising goal for the region’s farmers who are rising to the occasion to feed and sustain the region with fresh, healthy, local food. Future Harvest is now accepting grant applications for more than $20,000 in available funds and will continue fundraising efforts throughout the summer.
The Feed the Need Fund not only helps address shortages in area food banks, it also helps farmers weather market changes caused by the pandemic by incentivizing and facilitating donations. Mini-grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 will be awarded to farmers to compensate for such activities as sliding-scale community supported agriculture shares and home delivery to people in need. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, July 15.
In light of Future Harvest’s renewed commitment to stand for racial equity, the organization has committed that 50 percent of these awards will be given to black or indigenous farmers and other farmers of color. Grant award recipients will have the flexibility to participate in this effort using the tools and means that work best for them to help others.
“We recognize the incredibly important role that our farmers play when times are good, and especially now, when times are rough,” said Dena Leibman, Future Harvest executive director. “Whether they are in the cities, the suburbs, or rural areas, our farmers are resilient. They are rising to the occasion to feed and sustain the region with fresh, healthy, local food. They are our second line of defense; they are the heroes and sheroes we champion. We must support them now as they feed our communities!”
The online grant application is easy to complete with a few detailed questions to help ensure that Future Harvest is awarding producers facing the greatest adversity and having the ability to provide nutritious, high-quality food to those in need.
Eligible applicants are vegetable, fruit, meat, and dairy producers in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia or West Virginia.
Applicants will need to provide market-quality products and document how many pounds of what type of product they deliver when and to which organizations, individuals and in what geographic area. A form to fill out will be provided to grant awardees.
Farmers are eligible for grant funds to deliver produce to those in need at retail value. A delivery cost of up to $75 can be included.
A review committee composed of Future Harvest board members, staff, and farmers will review and select awardees, and the cash mini-grants, ranging from $500 to $5,000 will be awarded.
Thanks to individual donors, funds awarded through the Mid-Atlantic Food Resilience & Access Coalition, and region-wide partner support, more than $20,000 will be distributed to qualifying producers feeding the need in the Chesapeake Region.
For more information, to apply for grants or to donate to the Feed the Need Fund, go to ww.futureharvestcasa.org.