GRANTS & FUNDING

Check here for the latest opportunities in grants and funding for urban agriculture projects in Chicago. If you have an opportunity to share, please send information to: outreach@auachicago.org.

Michael Fields Agriculture Institute’s Grant Advising Program provides free grant writing assistance, including clarifying and articulating ideas, assessing which grant program fits needs, and crafting a high-quality proposal. Interested individuals and organizations can also be added to an e-mail list announcing new grant opportunities by making a request to grants@michaelfields.org

Additionally, resources from the Land Connection Newsletter has a blog about project development, and a grant-writing webinar from 2020.

Funding Opportunities for Growers and Food System Work

 

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund – Purpose: Not specified in application portal. Grant and scholarship available.  Amount: varies Deadline: midnight August 31, 2022.

North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center are accepting applications for short-term proposals aimed at addressing stress, stress management/assistance, and mental health among farmers, ranchers, and farm workers in the 12-state North Central region. $3,000 grants are available for projects at the intersection of agriculture and mental health. Deadline: until funds are depleted.

Brighter Future Fund was launched in 2020 to assist farmers in successfully launching, growing and sustaining farms in the face of forces impacting the food and agricultural system, including the COVID-19 pandemic, changing markets, severe weather, and climate change. In 2021, funding will be allocated to help farmers 1) Improve farm viability; 2) Access, transfer, or permanently protect farmland; or 3) Adopt regenerative agricultural practices. Amount: $5,000. Deadline: passed, sign up for an email about the next round

MOSES Farmer Advancement Fund assists historically underserved farmers and ranchers in fully participating in activities to help create and sustain their transition into farming, assisting in strengthening the future generation of farmers and ranchers. Amount: $250-$2000 Deadline: May 31, 2022

The Illinois Farmers Market Association (ILFMA) partners with Kane County and Growing for Kane (GFK) to offer mini-grants with funding from the Chicago Regional Food System Fund. This mini-grant focuses on providing resources to farmers, farmers markets, farm-to-school programs, and community organizations that serve Kane County’s communities of color including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Amount: $25-$1500 (potential match of up to $1000 from Kane County) Deadline: May 25, 2022

Compeer Financial Fund for Rural America’s General Use Grant Program underscores our commitment to champion the hopes and dreams of rural America. The purpose of the General Use Grant Program is to fund programs and organizations whose work aligns with our mission of “Enriching agriculture and rural America”. Amount: Up to $10,000   Deadline: May. 31, 2022

 

Rolling Applications

The Awesome Foundation – Chicago Chapter has been funding awesomeness in the Windy City since the summer of 2011. They’ve funded everything from little free libraries and puppet shows to electron microscopes and a temporary mini golf course on Milwaukee Avenue. The Chicago trustees generally meet on the third Tuesday of every month to review proposals.

The Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program provides $10,000 in funding for resident-driven groups in small cities and towns to start the Community Heart & Soul model. Grant funding requires a $10,000 cash match from the participating municipality or a partnering organization. Deadline: Ongoing

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation provides in-kind donations of fruit trees, equipment, volunteer workers, and training to 501(c)3s, public schools, and government entities to create orchards in communal and public places.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneering Ideas: Exploring the Future to Build a Culture of Health grant is seeking proposals with innovative and intersectional ideas that create long term solutions for health equity.

Clif Bar Family Foundation provides grants to 501(c)3 organizations that meet this eligibility quiz that are working to protect natural resources, strengthen communities and the food system, and enhance public health. Priority is given to applicants that address the funding priorities from a holistic perspective. Applications are reviewed three times a year; the deadlines are the 1st of October, February and June.

State and Federal Grant Opportunities

SARE Youth Educator Grants are competitive grants up to $4,000 for educators to provide programming on sustainable agriculture for youth. Application Deadlines: Vary by program.

NCR-Sare Farmer Rancher Grant is a competitive grant that funds farmers and ranchers striving for agricultural sustainability.Proposal due in early December

USDA Community Prosperity resource matrix organizes funding opportunities available for rural and underserved communities. This resource guide includes technical, training and planning assistance as well as financial assistance. Go to page 8 for grant resources.

USDA Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program Deadline: ongoing.

Open Enrollment Loan & Financing Opportunities

Kiva provides 0% interest loans of up to $10,000 to entrepreneurs, including urban farm businesses. To promote urban farmers’ access to capital, AUA is a proud Kiva Trustee, which means we help spread the word on these valuable resources and publicly vouch for urban farm entrepreneurs. Kiva trustees do not handle or disburse the loans. To learn more, please review the program overview and step-by-step guide to apply.

USDA Farm Storage Facility Loans provide up to $50,000 in low-interest financing to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store or process agricultural products. Most recently, these loans made available funding for refrigerated vehicles. Funding: Up to $500,000 per loan.

USDA Farm Service Agency Microloans provide up to $50,000 in financial assistance for small, beginning farmer, niche and non-traditional farm ownership or operations. Non-traditional farm operations can include truck farms, farms, direct marketing farmers, Community Supported Agriculture, restaurants and grocery stores, or those using hydroponic, aquaponics, organic, and/or vertical growing methods. Maximum of $50,000.

USDA EZ Guarantee Loans provides $100,000 to help beginning, small underserved, and family farmers and ranchers to purchase farmland or finance agricultural operations. The USDA also added a new category of lenders, including microlenders. Funding: Up to $100,000.