Written By: Jocelyn Roten
NON-PROFIT community organizations face many daily challenges. From working long hours to finding volunteers, there always seems to be a problem that needs solving.
One of those problems can be getting additional funding for new projects. That can be a real hassle! Carolina Farm Credit has found a way to ease that burden. Each year, our Corporate Mission Fund gives local agriculture related non-profits a chance to apply for $5,000 grants. Over the three year history of the program, over $388,000 in grant funding has been awarded! Many great projects have been completed including building greenhouses, buying signs to promote a local farmers market, purchasing a livestock chute, planting a large community garden, and starting an FFA chapter, just to name a few.
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is one of the organizations that has received grants from this program. They are dedicated to strengthening the High Country’s local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture. Among other things, this organization operates the High Country Food Hub which provides freezer and cold storage space for farmers and producers in Western North Carolina. This allows the small farms in this very rural area to store and sell their products in local markets and online.
In 2017, Blue Ridge women in Agriculture received $5,000, from the Corporate Mission Fund, to renovate their root crop storage facility and purchase an additional freezer. This allowed them to become compliant with the Farm Modernization Safety Act, to provide a cost effective way for farmers to sell more products online, and to have a place to store large quantities of root crops.
According to Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, “We have 27 farmers renting all of their available shelf space and 47 producers selling through the online market. These producers include beef, pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, fruit, vegetables, flour, pasta, honey, ginseng tea, coffee, dog treats, personal care items, and baked goods. Eighty percent of the farmers renting shelf space from the Food Hub have increased wholesale sales, as the farmers are able to process more animals per trip to the processor and have more product available for sale.”
This organization has been able to successfully support local farmers, consumers, and the local economy. If you work with or know of an ag-related non-profit organization that could benefit from a grant, such as this, be sure to apply today. The application is simple and the reward could be great for your organization.