Building a resilient local food system is at the heart of our co-op’s mission and values. We know that our local food system is only as strong as our local farmers and makers. Farming sustainably and humanely is one of the most rewarding and essential professions, but it’s also inherently unpredictable and it requires lifelong learning. Working closely with local farming groups and nonprofits, we hear about the great work others are doing to make farming more accessible and sustainable. The following are resources that farmers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa may find useful.
Note: Grant applications may not be open currently, but you can use these links to check periodically and get more information about grant opportunities for farmers.
- Lakewinds Organic Field Fund (LOFF) — Annual grant program to help local farmers accomplish projects that benefit their business and the farm ecosystem (up to $8,000 each).
- Mill City Farmers Market Next Stage Grant — Annual grant program to help local farmers who sell at farmers markets reach the next stage of their farm goals ($1,000 – $7,000 each).
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture Grants — A wide variety of grants focused on areas including land access, business planning, accessing new markets, and more that are available to farmers in Minnesota.
- National Young Farmers Coalition’s Young Farmer Grant Program — A nationwide grant program for farmers 18-40 years of age ($5,000 each).
- A Green World grant program where farmers receive funding and participate in a project to transition toward regenerative practices, improve farm operations, gain access to regenerative markets, and more.
- USDA Grants & Loans — Federal grants, loans, and cost share programs for farmers.
- Farmland Access Hub — Renewing the Countryside’s resource hub for local farmers looking to acquire land through purchase or lease and for farmers who want to transition their farm to the next generation of sustainable and organic farmers.
Training & Access to New Markets
- How to become a vendor at Lakewinds
- How to request a Lakewinds location as a CSA drop site for your farm
- Local Emergency Assistance Farmer Fund (LEAFF) — A program of The Good Acre, LEAFF provides access to new markets for local farmers, with an emphasis on equity in the food system. Through this program, unsold produce is purchased from local farmers and redistributed free of charge to local food access organizations.
- Latino Econmonic Development Center — Resources for local Latine farmers including technical assistance, access to markets, business development, and access to capital.
- Sustainable Farming Association — Farmer training events, community-building, free resource library, and more.
- Marbleseed — A wealth of resources for organic farmers including training events, mentorship, community collaboration, free resources, and more.
Stay in the Loop
- Sustag Listserv — An email listserv created and curated by the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA) for anyone interested in sustainable farming. Stay in the loop about grant and farmer training opportunities, farm career postings, events, research, and other resources.
Learn about recent recipients of the Lakewinds Organic Field Fund.