Meet Lyle McDonald: A CCOF Foundation Future Organic Farmer

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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.

Lyle McDonald
Veteran’s Sustainable Agriculture Training program – California

After graduating high school, Lyle McDonald joined the United States Marine Corps, during which time he was deployed to Iraq for seven months and to Afghanistan for seven months. After leaving the Marine Corps he, like other veterans, wasn't prepared for what the civilian world had planned for him. The worst feeling in the world is being told that the skills he had acquired in the Marine Corps did not transfer into a job in the civilian world.

Lyle’s family in the Philippines are sugar cane farmers, and although they were never rich, they were always happy. That is what Lyle wants. In his mind, there is nothing more American than planting a seed with your bare hands and nurturing it throughout its life until it bears fruit, after which you can harvest it and provide for your family. He knows that we as a country have a need for more organic food and, with a baby girl of his own, Lyle wants more than ever to be able to feed his family with the healthiest food that he can give them.

Lyle’s intended career is own and operate his own family farm in Oregon. He aspires not only to farm but also to give military veterans like himself a place to learn a new skill and to have a place to decompress from the stresses of military life.

Congratulations Lyle!

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!


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