By DOUG GRAVES
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Farm Aid has announced 67 family farm and rural service organizations received $532,300 from its grant program during 2012.
In addition to Farm Aid’s work throughout the year to build a thriving family farm-centered system of agriculture, the group funds family farm and rural service organizations through its annual grant program.
“Farm Aid enthusiastically supports the groundbreaking work in communities across the country to grow a better farm and food system,” said Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar.
“We view our grantees around the country as critical on-the-ground partners in the movement to keep family farmers on the land, producing good food for all. We’re honored to call these hard-working organizations our partners in the Good Food Movement.”
Farm Aid’s work includes keeping farm families on the land, building new market opportunities for farmers, confronting corporate concentration in agriculture, recruiting and training new and beginning farmers and informing farmers and eaters on issues such as factory farms, food safety and climate change.
The total amount distributed in the Mid-Atlantic region (including Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and Virginia) was $126,050. Many of the funds were distributed in this area.
Ohio’s recipient was the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) in Columbus. The $6,050 given to this organization was to support Farm Policy Matters, which works to empower farmers and eaters and champion policies supportive of sustainable family farms.
Farm Aid grant money also landed in the lap of the Hoosier Organic Marketing & Education agency in Clayton, Ind. Allotted was $500 to support an Indiana farm family in crisis and $3,000 went to disaster assistance for farm families affected by drought in that state.
Illinois was the recipient of $6,500 in grants. Illinois Stewardship Alliance of Springfield received $5,000 to engage farmers in policy development and advocacy so their voices may be heard by state policymakers. A pair of farm families each received $500 to help with drought disasters, while another $500 went to support an Illinois family dairy farm in crisis.
In Kentucky, Community Farm Alliance of Louisville received $7,500 for communications and resource support to advance the Agricultural Legacy Initiative, creating a vision for the next generation of farmers in that state.
Iowa was the recipient of $16,500. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement received $6,000 to support grassroots organizing around factory farms through the Factory Farm Accountability Project. The Iowa Farmers Union Education Foundation in Ames received $5,000 to develop leadership and advocacy skills among young and beginning farmers in Iowa.
Another $5,000 went to Women, Food and Agriculture Network of Story City for the Plate to Politics program, which recruits and trains women farm and food leaders to advocate for fair farm policies. Finally, $500 went to assist a farm family affected by drought in that state.
Farm Aid musicians and board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support its work with family farmers. “These grants empower grassroots organizations to put new farmers on the land and amplify the voices of family farmers,” said organization President Willie Nelson.
Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $40 million to support programs that help farmers.