The California Certified Organic Farmers Foundation and the UNFI Foundation, in collaboration with partner organizations Driscoll’s, Organic Valley and Bradmer Foods, have launched the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund for vocational and higher education students.
Grants totalling $25,000 are 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," said Cathy Calfo, CCOF executive director/CEO. "More than 80 percent of Americans now purchase organic products, and demand continues to outpace the supply.”
The vocational and higher education grants are available through the CCOF and UNFI Foundations for students nationwide and will remain open until June 13.
“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, visit www.ccof.org/foundation/fofgf.