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 program to provide funding to local, sustainable farmers and other food makers who 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 $122,000 in 58 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.
Applications for MCFM-CF’s Next Stage Grant are due in early March and grants are awarded in early April. You can subscribe to the Market’s weekly email newsletter for updates on the grant program.
Next Stage Grant program uses can include:
- Costs associated with transitioning to organic certification
- Research and implementation of improved sustainability of farming practices and land management
- Season extension projects
- Training and other forms of continuing education specific to your business
- Education related to capacity-building and sound business practices from professional service providers or qualified consultants (Other farmers or business owners, marketing specialists, web designers, etc.)
- 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.
- Marketing improvements such as labeling and packaging equipment, web design, 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 to expand its grants to local farmers and food makers throughout the region who sustain a 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 venerable 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 matching grants from CoBank. We are honored to be stewards of this program.
In accordance with IRS guidelines, your donation is tax deductible.