by Laura Ridenour, Farm Fund chair and Co-op Board director
The Farm Fund helps us live our values. Our Community Food Co-op is committed to being a cornerstone of the local food economy, ensuring that our community and region is capable of feeding itself.
A rising consciousness about food has swept our community and the world. GMOs. Climate change. Farmworker rights. Organic and sustainable farming. Pollinator decline. Local resilience and sovereignty. These and many other factors have caused people to look more carefully at the food they eat—where it comes from, how it is grown, and who is growing it.
As a result, people want to buy more local food.
As farmers meet the increased demand for local food, the Community Food Co-op’s Farm Fund has grown from humble beginnings to a nationally-recognized model.
Since 2000, the Farm Fund, with donations from the Co-op operations budget and Co-op member-owners, has circulated over $204,215 for Farm Fund grants and revolving loans benefiting more than 60 farms and food/farming organizations.
The Farm Fund helps us live our values.
Our Community Food Co-op is committed to being a cornerstone of the local food economy, ensuring that our community and region is capable of feeding itself. Collaborating in the development of a vibrant local and regional food production and distribution system is one of the six core goals of our Co-op’s strategic plan.
The Farm Fund, run by a Co-op staff member and a volunteer committee of member-owners connected to the farming community, is a unique and powerful way to meet the needs of beginning and small farm businesses as we collectively work toward these goals.
For example, Whatcom County’s small farmers have reported that the barriers to reduce costs and compete in the wholesale market include two main issues: access to capital for equipment, land, or infrastructure, and a need for resources to navigate the various processes and learning curves related to expansion into new markets. The Farm Fund helps small farms reduce these barriers.
Donating to the Farm Fund gives community members the opportunity to invest in the future of the farms and farmers that provide our food.
Want local food? Support local farms!
Make a donation to the Farm Fund and become a “Farm Fund-er” today. Through the Farm Fund, you have an opportunity to support our local farming community and help to ensure viable small farm businesses are able to thrive. Donate online or at any Co-op register.
And buy local whenever you shop to support local farms and food producers.