Meet Austen Villacis: A CCOF Foundation Future Organic Farmer

The Future Organic Farmer Grant winners were judged to have the strongest combination of commitment to leading a lifelong career in organic agriculture, investment and participation in the organic community, and dedication to growing the organic movement. Each grant recipient will receive $2,500 to apply toward their studies in organic agriculture. 

Find out how to apply for your own Future Organic Farmer Grant.

Learn more about supporting the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund through a donation.

Austen Villacis
Farmshare Austin’s FarmerStarter Program – Texas

Austen Villacis developed his interest in organic food in 2012, when his mom, who was 45 at the time, was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. Up until that point, his family's diet had mostly consisted of processed and conventionally-raised foods. Along with his mom and older sister, Austin began researching food as both a mode of prevention and medicine. The whole family changed their diets drastically and began making thoughtful food choices based on quality. Organic produce became a huge focus for them.

In the years since his mom's diagnosis, Austen’s belief in the importance of consuming organic food has developed into an interest in the production of organic produce. He will use his Future Organic Farmer grant to study organic agriculture through Farmshare Austin's FarmerStarter program, which uses both in-field training and formal classroom instruction to provide the skills and knowledge needed to successfully work on and manage a sustainable farm operation. His ultimate career goal is to operate his own organic CSA farm.

Congratulations Austen!

Please join us in congratulating the vocational and higher education recipients of the CCOF Foundation’s 2015 Future Organic Farmer Grants.

The Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund is made possible by the generous support of the Clif Bar Family Foundation, Driscoll’s, National Co+op Grocers, Organic Valley, Lauren and Eric Schiermeyer, and the UNFI Foundation. Thank you to these organizations for helping us inspire the next generation of organic farmers!

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Today, less than 1% of America’s farmland is organic, and farmers who want to transition their land face a long and costly process. Hear from CCOF's CEO Kelly Damewood about what we're doing to address this challenge:

One percent