FoFF Brings Partners Together for Small Farmer Capital Access
FoFF is proud to announce the launch of the Capital Assistance for Local Farmers (CALF) Project! For the last decade we have consistently heard from our farmers that access to appropriate capital is a barrier to their success. Whether it is getting loans to purchase farmland, grants for upgrading environmental practices or implementing conservation strategies, or simply operating capital the likes of which are available to most other sectors of small business, our farmers have trouble accessing the resources they need. At the same time we have heard from government agencies and programs that there is huge investment in small farms and community food systems. So where is the disconnect?
This new program brings together farm and food organizations across the state with lenders and government funders to bridge the gap, provide better technical assistance to farmers and generate feedback loops to make programs more accessible to the farmers we serve. FoFF convened this coalition with the help of a USDA Regional Food System Partnership grant that will facilitate this work for the next two years. We are so grateful to the partners who have contributed to the development of this program. Along with FoFF staff, the community partners bringing their farmers needs and perspectives to the table are Black Food Sovereignty Coalition, Adelante Mujeres, Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, High Desert Farm and Food Alliance, Coast Fork of the Willamette Watershed Council, Rogue Valley Food System Network, North Coast Food Web, Rogue Farm Corps, Klamath Grown and the Oregon Community Food System Network. The funding partners coming to the table with us are Farm Service Agency, AgWest, NRCS, Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District, Oregon Department of Agriculture, and the Oregon Water Enhancement Board.
Each of these organizations is committed to engaging in a community of practice to increase community support for funding opportunities and create mutual understanding of the resources out in the community. We will be creating a resource inventory with key information about opportunities and projects for service providers to use when advising farmers across the state, and a plan for expanding one on one technical assistance and fund accessibility in the next phase of the project. The ultimate goal is for small and local market farmers to get a bigger share of the funds coming down for climate smart, local, and community oriented farming, create stronger farm businesses, and build a web of service providers to carry this work forward in the future.