FREE resources available for those wanting to create food sovereignty, sustainable farming models. Sources of grant money and microloans:
Small Planet Fund supports “courageous movements bringing to life citizen-led solutions to hunger, poverty, and environmental devastation around the world.” Each year, the fund awards grants to core grantees, a select group of organizations that receive annual funding, as to organizations at a critical point of development that are dedicated to social change.
RSF Social Finance Seed Fund provides grantees with small gifts, ranging from US$500–US$5,000, to provide financial support for initiatives that address specific focus areas, one being food and agriculture. RSF seeks grant proposals that are credible, feasible, and sustainable; that foster collaborative work; that provide intended results and outcomes; and that have beneficial economic, ecological, and social impacts.
Root Capital has helped grow prosperous rural economies in Latin America and Africa since 1999 by “lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses.” Thus far, Root Capital has distributed over USD$740 million to over 530 businesses working towards building sustainable livelihoods.
Pangea Giving for Global Change awards grants to small grassroots, community-based organizations throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Grants are given to organizations working with community members to address pertinent issues, from children’s education and women’s rights to agricultural improvements, with solutions designed to have lasting social impacts. Funding ranges from USD$1,000–US$10,000, with a maximum award of USD$5,000 for first-year grants.
Navdanya Farmers Network has trained farmers across 17 Indian states in food sovereignty, seed sovereignty, and sustainable agriculture for two decades. Navdanya has set up over 100 community seed banks across India and taught food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture to over 500,000 farmers. The organization continues to promote nonviolent farming that protects biodiversity, small farmers, and the Earth.
National Young Farmers Coalition works to secure the success of young farmers by supporting practices and policies that enable new farmers to create thriving businesses. The Coalition offers a variety of resources that help farmers overcome barriers and create strong, prosperous farming operations, including connecting farmers with land and jobs, training opportunities, a guide to finding credit and capital, and information on the organic certification.
Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) promotes ecological agriculture based on local inputs and improved natural resources management in Ethiopia. The organization works to raise crop yields for local food security and improve ecosystem services for farmers, their families, and local communities. Initiatives include soil fertility enhancement (compost), push-pull technology, agroforestry, supporting innovative farmers, and adapting to the effects of climate change.
Global Greengrants Fund has provided over USD$45 million in grants to people, foundations, and businesses supporting community-based projects that aim to make the world safer, healthier, and more just. These grants have addressed pressing issues—including biodiversity, climate change, energy and mining, food and agriculture, fresh water, sustainable livelihoods, marine and coastal conservation, and youth leadership—in 163 countries.
Global Giving is a charity fundraising site that provides a fundraising platform for social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations from all over the world. Donors can search for different projects—focusing on causes such as education, feeding the hungry, building houses, training women with job skills, and many more meaningful objectives—to make contributions. Since its creation in 2002, GlobalGiving has over USD$184 million to help support close to 13,000 projects.
Grameen Bank has developed a new type of banking. Instead of traditional monetary deposits and other forms of collateral, the bank relies on accountability, mutual trust, creativity, and participation to provide credit to the poorest Bangladeshis. Grameen Bank uses a small-scale microcredit lending program (usually providing a few hundred U.S. dollars) to small enterprises in a variety of industries, including agriculture. Loans are only available to the poor, with a focus on women.
Food+Tech Connect is an online platform for good food innovators that uses technology and data to improve the food system. Through resources like its weekly newsletters, Food+Tech Connect helps to launch, grow, and transform companies committed to revolutionizing the food system. Additionally, Food+Tech Meetups and Hackathons discuss and undertake “some of the food industry’s greatest challenges.”
Food and Farm Communications Fund (FFCF) facilitates the strategic communication needed to create robust and resilient regional food systems. FFCF offers grants to a variety of programs, which the organization assesses for viability in market strategy and communications. Funding ranges from US$10,000–US$100,000.
Consortium for Enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development Limited (CURAD) is one of six agribusiness innovation incubator programs in Africa aimed at generating jobs and boosting incomes within the agricultural sector. CURAD’s target clients include student startups, as well as small and medium wholesale and retail, coffee processing, and agribusiness enterprises.
Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) Incubator Farm Project understands that access to land is one of the biggest obstacles new farmers face. To address this problem, CEFS works with communities in North Carolina to repurpose land into new farm incubators. These farmers “pay” for their land with services to the community and fresh farm products. Participants also have access to training and technical assistance opportunities in farm business and production.
AgroEcology Fund is a “collaboration of donors working to coordinate and sustain agricultural systems that build on the existing skills and practices of local farming communities.” The Fund awards grant money to eligible projects; in 2012, the AgroEcology Fund awarded US$1 million to six partners for a two-year grant period. Supported by an advisory board of global experts, the Fund is currently working on its second round of grantmaking
AgriBusiness Incubator (ABI) at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), founded in 2003 in India, promotes agricultural technologies developed by ICRISAT and other research and development institutions. ICRISAT focuses on five strategic areas: seeds, biofuels, ventures to develop particular innovations (products or services), farming (high-value crops), and agricultural biotechnology. Additional outreach strategy includes collaborative business incubation.
AgDevCo is a social impact investor and agribusiness project developer that aids in the financing of sustainable agricultural business opportunities in Africa. Additionally, AgDevCo supports the development of agriculture-supporting infrastructure, such as irrigation and bulk storage. Once commercially viable, AgDevCo transfers the businesses to primarily national ownership and then reinvests funds in other early-stage agriculture development projects.
ACDI/VOCA—a private, nonprofit organization—envisions a world in which empowered people can succeed in the global economy. To achieve this vision, ACDI/VOCA promotes “economic opportunities for cooperatives, enterprises, and communities through the innovative application of sound business practice.” Programs specific to agriculture include Farmer-to-Farmer, the Cooperative Development Program II (CDPII), and implementation of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Feed the Future.