$10,000 awarded for local food projects

  • Fri Apr 12th, 2019 5:27pm
  • Life

by Susannah Weaver

Orcas Food Co-op

Orcas Food Co-op and the San Juan County FARM Fund Advisory Committee are proud to announce the following 2019 FARM Fund grant recipients:

• Orcas Island Farm to Cafeteria – Greenhouse for School Garden.

• Super Natural Farm (Lopez Island) – Rabbit Fencing for Market Garden.

• Morning Star Farm (Orcas Island) – Irrigation System Improvement.

• Rainbow Chicken Ranch (Orcas Island) – Expanding Local Egg Production.

• San Juan Islands Conservation District (San Juan County) – No Till Drill Program.

• Orcas Farm (Orcas Island) – Drip Irrigation Project.

• Taproot Kitchen (Lopez Island) – Equipment for the Lopez Fruit Gleaning Project.

FARM Fund grants were made available for projects throughout San Juan County for the first year in 2019. The fund received 13 applications totaling over $30,000 in requested funds. As there was $10,000 to award, the FARM Fund Advisory Committee was faced with the difficult task of choosing among many great applicants. The quantity and caliber of requests received this year clearly demonstrate the need for the FARM Fund.

This year’s winning applicants were those deemed to have the greatest potential impact toward FARM Fund goals, as well as demonstrating a clear thought process about what would be needed, how every dollar will be spent, matching contributions and implementation of the project.

While the FARM Fund began as a project of the co-op, the ultimate goal is to have the fund managed independently of the co-op as the fund grows in size and garners additional sustainable funding sources and partners in our community that contribute to the fund year after year. We invite partners that support local agriculture such as nonprofits and businesses that sell local food to help grow the FARM Fund to reach the five-year goal of $100,000 in grant distribution.

Currently FARM Fund grants are funded by a combination of 0.5 percent of all Orcas Food Co-op produce department sales, funds raised as part of the Orcas Food Co-op Community Hero Program and other community donations.

The San Juan Islands have a rich agricultural history and are experiencing a resurgence of local food and farming in recent years, with both the number of farms and total farm revenue on an upward trajectory.

Learner Limbach, Orcas Food Co-op’s general manager, articulates: “Our islands are enriched by a thriving local food system. The FARM Fund is one way we can all give back and ensure the ongoing viability of our farms.”

To inquire about becoming a Sustainable FARM Fund Partner please email learner@orcasfood.coop