(March 10, 2014) Santa Cruz, CA – The CCOF Foundation and UNFI Foundation, along with other industry leaders Driscoll’s, Organic Valley, and Bradmer Foods are supporting the education of new farmers, ranchers, and food processors by establishing the Future Organic Farmer Grant, a first-of-its-kind collaboration. The fund will focus on three target areas: K-12 educational projects, individual grants for higher and vocational education, and disadvantaged communities. “Among the challenges to meeting the rising demand for organic products is the need for new organic farmers and entrepreneurs. More than 80 percent of Americans now purchase organic products, and demand continues to outpace the supply,” explains Cathy Calfo, CCOF Executive Director/CEO.
To address this challenge, the CCOF Foundation, UNFI Foundation, Driscoll’s, Organic Valley, and Bradmer Foods have pooled their resources to provide up to $50,000 in direct financial support for the education of future organic farmers and agricultural professionals. Grants will be awarded to students who aspire to lead careers in organic agriculture.
“The United States is facing an epidemic shortage of farmers and the average age of a farmer is hovering around 60,” said Melody Meyer, UNFI Vice President, Policy and Industry Relations. “We are excited to join with other industry leaders to address this challenge.”
Guidelines and applications for the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund will be available in April 2014. For more information about the application process or to contribute to the fund, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The CCOF Foundation
CCOF’s mission is to certify, educate, advocate, and promote organic. The CCOF Foundation’s 2014 program priorities include providing direct financial support for future organic farmers, providing hardship assistance grants to organic producers, offering technical assistance to organic producers, and promoting public education about the benefits of organic foods and agriculture. CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) represents 2,700 organic producers, handlers, and processors.
The UNFI Foundation is committed to promoting healthy, sustainable, and organic food production and consumption. The UNFI Foundation focuses on organic/sustainable agriculture by increasing organic food production and consumption and promoting sustainable farming, while prioritizing nutrition by educating people about healthy food choices. UNFI is proud to fund innovative new programs that support the development of healthy, sustainable foods and food practices, and the health of the planet.
Driscoll’s is a leading purveyor of fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Family owned for over 100 years, Driscoll's is a trusted, recognized brand for consumers, leading chefs, and culinary institutions around the world. Driscoll’s uses only natural breeding methods to create plant varieties to produce ONLY THE FINEST BERRIES. Berries are grown by independent farmers around the globe and are available year round. For more information visit www.driscolls.com.
Organic Valley’s Farmers Advocating for Organics (FAFO) Fund
The FAFO Fund strives to protect and promote organic farmers by investing in organic research, education and advocacy. Through their work, they elevate and amplify the benefits of organic production and food for the health of humans, community, animals and the environment. They are dedicated to the belief that together they can do more and can envision a better world through organic.
Bradmer Foods is a consulting and investment firm with extensive natural products industry experience. They have worked with a sustainable frozen seafood business, organic tea and coffee companies, a natural/organic catering business, and the world’s premier organic acai producer. As an industry member, they believe strongly in giving back.