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RAFI: The Rural Advancement Foundation International Offers Grants For Beginning Farmers

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” ― Masanobu Fukuoka

Foraging and Farming

This week, we introduce the RAFI organization, a grant development community partner that values diversity and inclusivity when considering partners. They have opened opportunity for new or beginning farmers in the Southeast U.S.. RAFI was founded in 1990 to create equity for all new farmers, regardless of their background or economic challenges. 

I first learned about RAFI during an editorial interview with the founders of Red Tail Grains, Danny Cowan and George Allen, in Mebane, North Carolina. They received funding to purchase a stone mill in 2023, selling their heritage grains to local restaurants and farmer's markets. 

The Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI)

If you are a new farmer with limited time or an urban farmer with a non-profit program searching for grants, you are in the right place! Foraging and Farming aims to share information and create a community on food production and farming-related resources. Our guide on 'How To Find and Write Grants' is a practical resource that can help direct you toward agricultural funding organizations. 

RAFI provides boots-on-the-ground services, policy advocacy, and resources for small family farms and beginning farmers who need access to the tools to make effective real-life business decisions. From helping interpret markets and laws that affect food producers to implementing a cohesive community of support and advisory. Edna Rodriguez and her team of over 30 Subject Matter Experts are keen to evaluate and help with investment in your farm or food production enterprise.

The RAFI Beginning Farmer Stipend - Now Accepting Applications! 

If your farm is in AL, AR, DC, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN, and VA, you can apply for the stipend/grant. The value of the award ranges between $3,000 and $5,000, and historically underserved farmers and ranchers with unique circumstances will be a priority. This grant is taxable and must be used to purchase tools, equipment, infrastructure, and even marketing. Check the USDA Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher data tools for verification. 

Qualifications range from being Historically challenged to having less than three years of experience as a principal operator.  In addition, you must ranch or farm in one of the designated states above. If you have already applied and received grant funding from RAFI between the years of 2020-2023, you are excluded from the candidate pool. Follow up with your grant advisor to understand Notification, Spending and Reporting, and Evaluation criteria.  The application deadline is Friday, May 31, 2024, at 5:00 p.m.   Click the link to @ForagingandFarming to find out how to fill out grant applications and where they are located or to receive help on project planning. 

Foraging and Farming

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