Tag Archives: farm viability

Grant opportunities for farmers

Two grant opportunities for farmers!

  • The Rodale Institute has  partnered with Amy’s to give away approximately $25,000 this year to organic farmers (5 grants of $5,000 each). Farms must have at least 20 acres in crop production and be in transition to organic, recently certified (within 5 years), or must show financial need to continue being certified organic. Project-specific (rather than general funding) requests are preferred. Rolling application through December 31. Learn more about this grant opportunity »
  • For the eighth year, the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program is pleased to announce that funds are available on a competitive basis for grants to past program participants. The implementation grant program helps Farm Viability Program participants to implement specific aspects of their business plan. This round of grants is available to farm businesses that have completed a full business plan or transfer plan through the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program in 2012, 2013 or 2014 (with a business advisor at the Intervale Center, NOFA-VT, University of Vermont Extension, Land For Good or with an independent consultant). Learn more about this grant opportunity »
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Helping Farmers Grow Up to Be Successful

There has been a lot of great discussion going on in response to the recent New York Times editorial, Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers. Author and farmer Bren Smith laments the fact that, despite a great resurgence of interest in food and in farming as a career, making a profitable business out of farming is still a huge challenge.

At NOFA-VT, we firmly believe that sustainable farming must include the farm’s financial stability.

That’s why we put so much energy into building diverse markets and educating consumers, and why our technical assistance and farmer training programs include business planning, enterprise analysis, and marketing alongside soil management and weed control. We advocate on state and federal levels for legislation that supports small-scale, family, and organic farms. Along with our six sister NOFA chapters (plus MOFGA!), we’re able to conduct regional projects and be a strong voice for New England farmers on national issues.

Smith suggests, rightly, that farmers and those who care about their food need to organize to make the substantial changes in the food system that will be required for farmers to succeed. We’ve been working with Vermont farmers and in the regional food system for over 40 years, and we hope that you’ll join us as we continue to work towards the goals of successful local farms, healthy food, and strong communities.

Join us buttonAll farmers and their supporters are welcome as members. Help us improve the viability of Vermont’s farmers and the vitality of our rural communities – become a member today!

Food+Co-ops: Farm Viability—Strong Networks & Thriving Farms

As you may have heard, 97% of Vermonters value the working landscape. But what’s the difference between the working landscape and a pretty view? One simple answer is: farm viability.

Enid Wonnacott and colleagues at the 2008 National Farm Viability Conference
NOFA-VT Executive Director Enid Wonnacott (center, in pink) and colleagues at the 2008 National Farm Viability Conference

The state of Vermont is widely recognized for the strength of its community-based food system. One of the core assets in this system is the Farm Viability Program of the VT Housing & Conservation Board, which works to increase the success of Vermont’s land-based businesses.

VHCB recently hosted a national conference focused on farm viability, to share the love. As VHCB Executive Director Gus Seelig noted, “The National Farm Viability Conference was a great success, drawing 200 practitioners from 18 states working to improve rural economy and reinvent a better food system for farmers and consumers.”

Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross added, “The conference underscored the importance of technical assistance to the success of our farming enterprises and the entrepreneurs who run the operations.”

The thing that made this event powerful was the same factor that makes the VT Farm Viability Program so effective: Networks. Just as VHCB partners with an array of technical assistance providers to help farms better plan their businesses, this conference convened a broad range of stakeholders dedicated to a sustainable local/regional food system to “network, develop new knowledge and skills, and visit farms and value-added processing facilities.”

But what did the conference mean to those who were there—both Vermonters and leaders from elsewhere in the US? And what does it say about the opportunity the VT Farm Viability Program provides to Vermont farmers and food system businesses? Continue reading Food+Co-ops: Farm Viability—Strong Networks & Thriving Farms