08. Grants and Funding

Grants and Funding


Annie's Grants for Gardens
$3,000-5,000 grants for school gardens. Applicants must be public schools or 501c3 or charity non-profits, including private and charter schools that are 501c3 or charity non-profits.

Fresh Taste
Fresh Taste is an initiative by ten Chicago-region foundations working together to relocalize the Chicago foodshed and improve equity of access to good food. Fresh Taste's ten member foundations provide grants to projects that promote local food and natural resource protection.

The FruitGuys Community Fund
Each year The FruitGuys Community Fund awards grants ranging from $2,000-$5,000 for projects that help small farms and/or orchards operate more sustainably, both environmentally and economically, as well as strengthen community outreach. Some examples of sustainability projects may include (but are not limited to): planting of cover crops to help with water management and soil fertility; planting pollinator-attracting perennials and/or installing beehives; installation of bat boxes or owl boxes to attract predators and keep rodent numbers down; installation of high tunnels or hoop houses to extend the growing season.

Friends of the Parks Seed and Sprout Grant Programs
The Seed grant provides resources for park advisory councils and stewardship groups to complete volunteer-led projects in Chicago’s parks and forest preserves in Cook County.
The Sprout grant funds teachers and programs that engage students (grades 3-6) in their local environment, provide students with a tangible learning opportunity, improve the ecological health of our urban habitat and bolster students’ lifelong passion for the sciences. This grant could be used to cover school garden costs.

Grants for school and youth gardens.

Food and Farm Communications Fund

Illinois Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
The Illinois Department of Agriculture received specialty crop block grant funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Specialty Crop Block Grant - Farm Bill. A portion of those grant funds will be used to fund the Illinois Specialty Crop Grant Program. Through this program all Illinois specialty crop projects can apply for grant funds to help increase the competitiveness of the Illinois specialty crop industry.
Eligible entities: Illinois specialty crop projects (farmers markets, farms, greenhouses, market gardens, plant nurseries, vineyards, farmer cooperatives, etc)

Community Economic Development Projects
Community Economic Development (CED) is a federal grant program funding Community Development Corporations that address the economic needs of low-income individuals and families through the creation of sustainable business development and employment opportunities.
CED funds a variety of projects, including:
Eligible entities: Private, non-profit community development corporations (CDCs), including faith-based organizations, and Tribal and Alaskan Native organizations with a principle purpose of planning, developing or managing low-income housing or community development projects. CED programs also provide technical and financial assistance for economic development activities.

USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program
The goals of FMPP grants are to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets.
Eligible entities: Agricultural Businesses * Agricultural Cooperatives * Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Networks * CSA Associations * Economic Development Corporations * Local Governments * Nonprofit Corporations * Producer Networks * Producer Associations * Public Benefit Corporations * Regional Famers Market Authorities * Tribal Governments

USDA Local Food Promotion Program
LFPP offers grant funds with a 25% match to support the development and expansion of local and regional food business enterprises to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. Eligible entities may apply if they support local and regional food business enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, or store locally or regionally produced food products.
Eligible entities: Agricultural businesses * Agricultural cooperatives * Producer networks * Producer associations * Community supported agriculture networks * Community supported agriculture associations * Other agricultural business entities (for-profit groups) * Nonprofit corporations * Public benefit corporations * Economic development corporations * Regional farmers’ market authorities * Local and tribal governments

USDA Farm to School Grant Program
The purpose of the USDA Farm to School Grant Program is to assist eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs.
Eligible entities: Schools and districts (large and small, rural and urban) * Indian tribal organizations * Agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers * Non-profit entities * State and local agencies

USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
These grants support training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers or ranchers.
Eligible entities: Collaborative State, tribal, local, or regionally-based networks * Partnerships of public or private entities such as:
  • State cooperative extension service
  • Federal, State or tribal agency
  • Community-based and nongovernmental organization
  • College or university (including an institution awarding an associate’s degree)
  • Foundation maintained by a college or university.


Local & Regional Funding Sources

National Funding Sources
  • Kiva Zip Kiva Zip supports small business owners in America with 0% interest crowdfunded small business loans up to $10,000. They base their selection process on borrower's character instead of hard financial measurements to include more entrepreneurs. Kiva Zip is very interested in providing zero percent interest loans to small scale sustainable farmers. 20% of the borrowers are farmers and 90% of the loans posted are fully funded. $650,000 was raised in 2014 for 107 farmers across the country, with a 98% funding success rate, and farmers are repaying lenders at 96%. If you want to know more, check out borrowers.kivazip.org
  • Public Good
  • National Gardening Association
  • Oppenheimer Foundation
  • Steans Family Foundation
  • The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company's Gro1000 Grassroots Grant

Other Governmental Agencies