December Updates & Opportunities

Conferences and Events 

  • Virginia Farm-to-Table Conference. December 2-3, 2014, Weyers Cave, VA. The theme for this year’s Virginia Farm-to-Table Conference is “Nutrition, Health and Sustainability from the Ground Up!” The conference will continue to encourage collaboration, conservation, and community in Virginia’s local food movement. Day one will focus on soil and community health and day two will focus on scale, ethics, and markets. An in-depth soil biology training will be offered concurrently with the conference track on scale, ethics, and markets. Learn more and register for the conference by clicking here. 


  • Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference. January 8-11, 2015. Savannah, GA. The Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference is the largest educational conference and trade show in the southeastern United States that unites growers, vendors, and suppliers. Anyone with an interest in specialty crop agriculture is invited to be a part of this event. More than 80 hours of educational sessions will address food safety concerns, specific commodity issues on production practices and increased yields, and marketing strategies. Find out more here.


  • ASAP Business of Farming Conference. February 14th, 2015. University of North Carolina-Asheville. ASAP’s Business of Farming Conference is a day of learning and networking for those involved in local food and farming. Each year, approximately 250 area farmers, agriculture professionals, and business and marketing specialists attend tailored 90-minute workshops, meet with restaurant and wholesale buyers, exchange resources, and celebrate the start of the season. If you’re currently farming or seriously considering farming as a profession, you won’t want to miss our 2015 conference! For more information and registration click here.



  • The Beginning Farmer’s Introduction to Farm Law. Dec 8, 12pm. Beginning farmers will get a preview of the many legal issues they should consider when just starting out with farming. What business entity should a farmer choose? Which insurance policies are really important? What about that farmland lease- when should it be written down and what should it say? Is there anything to know about farmers market sales, volunteers, or working with family members? This webinar will touch on all of these questions and more. Registration is available here


Funding Opportunities

  • Veteran Scholarships for Southern SAWG Conference. The deadline to apply is December 12, 2014. Limited scholarships are available for military veterans who would like to attend Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s (SAWG) annual Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference. The popular conference, which is being held January 14 through January 17 in Mobile, Alabama, focuses on practical tools and solutions to build the necessary bridges between farmers, marketers, ag professionals, and local-food system advocates. The University of Arkansas and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) are partnering to offer the veteran scholarships, which cover general registration for the conference. Find out more here.


  • American Pastured Poultry Producers Association Scholarship. Application deadline: December 15, 2014. The American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) is now accepting applications for its annual $500 scholarship/gift. The scholarship will be awarded to an individual, farm, or organization that can demonstrate an educational need directly related to pastured poultry. Full details can be found here.


  • Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Program. Applications are due December 15, 2014.USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is making up to $31.5 million in funding available to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) more easily afford healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, a new Farm Bill program, brings together stakeholders from distinct parts of the food system and fosters understanding of how they might improve the nutrition and health status of SNAP households. Applications are requested in each of the following three categories: (1) FINI pilot projects (awards not to exceed $100,000 over one year); (2) multi-year, community-based FINI projects (awards not to exceed $500,000 over no more than four years); and (3) multi-year, FINI large-scale projects (awards of $500,000 or more over no more than four years). Click here to learn more.


  • Environmental Justice Small Grants Program. Application deadline: December 15, 2014. The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency provides funding for eligible applicants for projects that address local environmental and public health issues within an affected community. The EJSG Program is designed to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks. The long-term goals of the EJSG Program are to help build the capacity of communities with environmental justice concerns and to create self-sustaining, community-based partnerships that will continue to improve local environments in the future. The fiscal year 2015 program will consider proposals supporting community-based preparedness and resilience efforts (community climate resiliency). The goal is to recognize the critical role of localized efforts in helping communities shape climate change strategies to avoid, lessen, or delay the risks and impacts associated with climate change. More information can be found here.


  • Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grant. Applications are due by December 19, 2014. Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2015 Mary Boyer Sustainable Food and Agriculture Grant. The grant is open to female farmers, ranchers, and producers in the BRWIA service area including the North Carolina counties of: Alleghany, Avery, Ashe, Caldwell, Watauga, Wilkes, Mitchell, and Yancey, as well as Johnson County, Tennessee. Two grants of up to $2,000 will be awarded to strengthen the local food system by supporting female farmers, ranchers, and processors who plan to create innovative, sustainable solutions to production or marketing obstacles in the High Country. Learn more by clicking here.


  • Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America Safety Grants Program. Application deadline: January 7, 2015. Grants up to $10,000 are being offered by the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA), a national coalition of agribusinesses, producer organizations, and safety professionals in order to foster new champions of agricultural safety and health. The purpose of the ASHCA Safety Grants Program is to provide financial support to promote evidence-based safety/health strategies addressing farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers. Full details can be found here.


  • Sow It Forward Garden Grants Program. Application deadline is January 9, 2015. Sow It Forward is the grants and partnership program of Kitchen Gardeners International. The grant is for nonprofit causes or organizations (schools, 501c3s, food banks, community gardens, colleges, libraries, prisons, senior programs, etc.) interested in starting or expanding food garden projects that are of general benefit to their community. The grants provide a combination of cash, supplies, and information resources. Click here for more information.


  • Ben & Jerry’s Foundation Grassroots Organizing for Social Change. Organizing for Social Change Program offers general or project support to non-profit organizations throughout the United States and is BJF’s most competitive grant program. BJF makes one-year grants for up to $20,000, to organizations with budgets under $500,000. Only organizations with 501(c)3 status, or who have a fiscal agent with this status are eligible to apply. Click here for more information.


  • Golden LEAF Foundation Open Grants Program. The Golden LEAF Foundation is committed to using the funds entrusted to it for projects that show the most potential for strengthening North Carolina’s long-term economy, especially in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural communities. In the Open Grants Program, Golden LEAF’s grantmaking is focused in the areas of Agriculture, Job Creation, and Retention and Workforce Preparedness. In agriculture, Golden LEAF sees particular promise in the areas of value-added processing, market expansion, and projects targeting alternative crops, livestock, and aquaculture. Eligible applicants are governmental entities and 501 (c)(3) non-profit organizations. First, applicants complete a letter of inquiry. Applications are reviewed on a bi-monthly basis. Click here for more information.


  • Cedar Tree Foundation. Letters of inquiry are accepted at any time. The Cedar Tree Foundation is a small family fund whose grant making focuses on sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and environmental health. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, but welcomes letters of inquiry for U.S.-based work from non-profit organizations working within its program areas. Click here to learn more.


  • The Harry Chapin Foundation. The Foundation Board meets three times a year on an as-needed basis. The Harry Chapin Foundation funds 501(c)(3) not-for-profit programs that operate in the United States that fall within the areas of Community Education Programs, Arts-In-Education Programs, and Agricultural and Environmental Programs. Grant sizes range from a few hundred dollars to a maximum of $10,000. Find out more about applying here.