The CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) Foundation and UNFI Foundation, along with other industry leaders Driscoll’s, Organic Valley, and Bradmer Foods, are supporting the education of new farmers, ranchers, and food processors by establishing the Future Organic Farmer Grant; a first-of-its-kind collaboration.
The fund will focus on three target areas: K-12 educational projects, individual grants for higher and vocational education, and disadvantaged communities. “Among the challenges to meeting the rising demand for organic products is the need for new organic farmers and entrepreneurs,” said Cathy Calfo, CCOF executive director/CEO. “More than 80% of Americans now purchase organic products, and demand continues to out-pace the supply.”
To address this challenge, the CCOF Foundation, UNFI Foundation, Driscoll’s, Organic Valley, and Bradmer Foods have pooled their resources to provide up to $50,000 in direct financial support for the education of future organic farmers and agricultural professionals. Grants will be awarded to students who aspire to lead careers in organic agriculture.
“The United States is facing an epidemic shortage of farmers and the average age of a farmer is hovering around 60,” said Melody Meyer, UNFI vice president, Policy and Industry Relations. “We are excited to join with other industry leaders to address this challenge.”
Guidelines and applications for the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund will be available in April 2014. For more information about the application process or to contribute to the fund, contact [email protected].