The Mill City Farmers Market Charitable Fund (MCFM-CF) is committed to the success and sustainability of the local food economy. MCFM-CF designed the Next Stage Grant to provide funding to local, sustainable farmers and other food producers who experience hardship or are improving sustainable farming and business practices or growing toward the “next stage” of their local food businesses.
Mill City Farmers Market has awarded over 60 grants to local farms and other small businesses since 2013.
The Next Stage Grant program, sustained through the generosity of the market community, embodies MCFM-CF’s commitment to building a healthy, local, sustainable and organic food economy and is rooted in our educational mission. The goal of this grant program is to help keep regenerative family farmers on the land, producing nourishing food for all.
In accordance with IRS guidelines, 100% of your donation is tax deductible.
Applications for MCFM-CF’s Next Stage Grant are available in January and are due in early March. Grants are awarded in early April. You can subscribe to the Market’s weekly email newsletter for updates on the grant program.
- Farm or business must sell at one or more regional farmers markets.
- Farm or business must be located in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, or northern Iowa
- Farms and businesses must adhere to Mill City Farmers Market’s Sustainability Statement or the project must aim to bring the farm or other business closer to meeting it.
- Not required to be a current vendor at the Mill City Farmers Market
- Farm or business must have been in operation for more than one year
Next Stage Grant program uses can include (but are not limited to):
- Support farmer transition to organic certification and other sustainable and regenerative farming and land management practices
- Season extension projects
- Training, courses and other forms of continuing education specific to your business
The following may also be funded, but are subject to additional criteria defined by MCFM-CF’s ‘ Financial Need Statement’:
- Building cold storage facilities
- New product development such as value-added farm goods, diversifying crops or livestock, etc.
- Software and other technology upgrades such as heaters, refrigerators, solar installations, business management software, etc.
2019 Next Stage Grant Awardees
Big River Farms – ‘Increased Capacity for Mechanical Cultivation Education’
Clover Bee Farm – ‘Year Round Food Production through Passive Solar Greenhouse’
Good Turn Farm – ‘Season Extension with Movable Caterpillar Tunnels’
Growing Lots Urban Farm – ‘Purchasing Bed Prep Equipment’
Prairie Hollow Farm – ‘Paperpot Transplanter’
Racing Heart Farm – ‘Hoop House Renovation for Season Extension’
Red Clover Herbal Apothecary – ‘Increase Herbal Tea and Extraction Production’
Seven Songs Organic Farm – ‘Nutrition Fact Research and Shelf-Life Testing’
Mill City Farmers Market started its grant program in 2013 as a way to support its farmers in times of crop loss and other hardship. Between 2013 and 2017 the Market granted over $66,000 to its vendors in the projects detailed below. The inception of the Market’s Charitable Fund in 2017 has allowed the Market nearly double its grant awards to over $122,000 in just two years and expand the pool of grantees to local farmers and food makers throughout the region who sustain our healthy, local food system.
Mill City Farmers Market still offers its Farmer-In-Need Grant, designed to support farmers in time of hardship. The livelihood of a farm can be vulnerable to an array of unpredictable causes for hardship or loss. While these risks are inherent to farming, this grant is intended to provide support to those who experience extreme hardship.
The Next Stage Grant program is sustained by donations from our generous market community and from CoBank. We are honored to be stewards of this program.