(April 21, 2014) Santa Cruz, CA – The CCOF Foundation and the UNFI Foundation, in collaboration with partner organizations Driscoll’s, Organic Valley, and Bradmer Foods, are pleased to announce the opening of the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund. $25,000 is now available in direct financial support for the education of future organic farmers and agricultural professionals. Ten grants of $2,500 each will be awarded to students who plan to work in organic agriculture.
Grants are open to vocational and higher education students of organic agriculture who are currently enrolled or have been accepted to start their studies in 2014. Students can be any age and can be full or part time. A major goal of the program is to assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds in starting careers in organic agriculture. “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.
The vocational and higher education grants will be made available through the CCOF and UNFI Foundations for students across the United States (the application opened April 15 and will remain open until June 13, 2014).
“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.”
For more information about the application process or to contribute to the fund, please visit www.ccof.org/foundation/fofgf.
About The CCOF Foundation
The CCOF Foundation is unique because of its direct connection to the members of the CCOF Trade Association and the diverse range of organic producers, processors, and retailers who are certified organic by CCOF Certification Services. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) entity founded through private donations and public grants that receives in-kind management and staffing support from the CCOF Trade Association (CCOF, Inc., a 501(c)(5) entity). 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 food and agriculture.