LOFF Grant Process & Criteria
The Lakewinds Organic Field Fund (LOFF) is a grant program dedicated to making an impact on local farming and organic food by furthering the development and sustainability of farms in the region. Supporting local and organic farms is key to our mission as a food co-op. Organic farms and producers are part of Lakewinds’ ongoing effort to build a local food system that values the financial health of smaller scale agriculture, soil health, environmental responsibility, and the desires of our owners for high-quality, organic food.
Applications are available January 1 to 31 and grants are awarded in mid-March.
Overview of Lakewinds Organic Field Fund
The goal of LOFF is to support local farmers in a variety of ways, including helping to:
- Improve packing sheds and other facilities.
- Purchase equipment and tools.
- Financially support the process of transitioning a farm to organic.
- Make purchases that increase farm productivity or efficiency.
- Undertake projects that improve soil health.
- Take on other projects that benefit the farm.
LOFF gives preference to farmers located in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, and northern Iowa.
Tell us your story! Funding is available for the following types of project proposals:
- Organic certification.
- Transitioning a conventional farm to organic.
- Any type of project that helps a farm scale its offerings.
- Any type of project that helps a farm improve efficiency or effectiveness.
LOFF does not provide funding for:
- Start-ups (farms that have no established markets or that will be going into their first few growing seasons).
- Reimbursement for completed projects.
- Political or religious programs.
- Nonprofit organizations.
- General operating or marketing expenses.
- Endowment funds.
- Fundraising events.
- Proposals that do not address organic farming issues.
Applications are available during the month of January. You may start an application and return to it later if you’re not able to complete it all at once, but the final application must be submitted by 11:59 pm on January 31.
If a project is funded, applicants will be notified and funds awarded in mid-March. Awarded funds will be paid out in full at the time of announcement. If a project or grant contains any special conditions, no monies are disbursed until those conditions have been met.
Lakewinds will consider proposals for projects that are realistically achievable with a modest level of funding. The maximum grant limit is $8,000 per farm each year.
LOFF acknowledges the importance of conducting long-term research to verify experimental results. The LOFF committee will consider funding multi-year projects, but cannot guarantee funding for any project beyond a single year. Submission of an interim report and new proposal is required to be considered for continued funding in subsequent years.
In order to fairly evaluate grant proposals, all submissions should follow the requirements as stated in the application. Proposals that surpass the page limit or otherwise do not meet these requirements will not be considered for funding. References and curricula vitae (CVs) may be uploaded as attachments to the proposal. CVs are limited to no more than two pages each.
The successful application will provide a clear rationale for the project and demonstrate a significant need for the proposed project. It is important that the objectives for your project be clear, well-structured, and succinct. Demonstrate why your project is necessary, present measurable outcomes, and explain specifically what you hope to accomplish.
For questions about the LOFF grant process or application, please email Jennifer Dean at JenniferD@Lakewinds.com.