Farm Fund–A History of Success
Since being founded in 2000, the Farm Fund has:
- Established a low-interest, revolving loan fund and a secured loan program for local, sustainable farms.
- Founded Food To Bank On (FTBO), a program that provides training, markets and mentorship to new farmers, who are paid to deliver fresh food to local food banks (now part of Sustainable Connection’s Food and Farming Program). Additional grants to FTBO have provided funding for farm tours that connect new farmers with mentor farmers, and for first-year farms to participate in WSU Whatcom County Extension’s agricultural entrepreneurship classes.
- Provided grants to Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, and Twin Sisters (east Whatcom County) farmers markets for promotion, start up costs, an EBT (food stamp card) system, WIC (Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program) vouchers, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) coupons and a trailer.
- Funded Small Acres Farm to develop a portable low cost, aerated composting system, and to give workshops to local farmers on how to set up the system.
- Supported Growing Veterans, a sustainable agriculture program for military veterans, to hire a veteran transition specialist for the fast-growing organization.
- Gave a grant to Viva Farms, a bilingual program for new farmers and experienced farm workers, to purchase a disk attachment for planting, turning over cover crops, and weed management, and a sprayer for organic pest control.
- Awarded a grant to Springtime Farm for a garlic peeler and separator for multi-farm use, value added products, and increased productivity.
- Supported the Off Ox Project to purchase and train oxen, and to offer workshops on using oxen teams to minimize farm use of fossil fuels.
- Sponsored Whatcom County’s first organic seed saving workshops presented by a local farm business, Uprising Seeds, in collaboration with the Organic Seed Alliance.
- Funded Community to Community Development’s cooperative development project for farm workers, and Finca Esperanza, a farm worker community garden.
- Provided start up funds for the Food Bank Farm and Local Food Works (east Whatcom County food access and gardening programs), and funded the Food Bank’s Seed Money Project. Seed Money farms receive funding towards early season costs and return a portion of their crops to the Food Bank, opening doors for future contract purchasing with the Food Bank.
- Funded Cloud Mountain Farm Center’s leafy greens trials, Uprising Seed’s cauliflower trials for successful northwest varieties, and Backyard Grains and Bean’s GMO corn testing, legume, grain, and seed crop trials.
- Contributed scholarships for local growers to attend the Northwest Washington Sustainable Agriculture Conference.
- Partnered in launching Whatcom County’s first local labeling program; assisted the Bellingham Farmers Market with county-wide marketing.
- Gave a grant to Inspiration Farm for restoration of a seed cleaner to benefit local seed growers, improve grain trials, support a community seed network, and educate about seed production methods.
- Helped cover development costs for Kulshan Community Land Trust’s Affordable Access to Land for Farming program.
- Partnered with Growing Washington to launch the Just Food charitable (subsidized) CSA, and to fund the Whatcom Grain Project.
- Gave two grants to Bellingham Urban Gardens (BUGS) for farm implements, building a farm bike trailer, and to start a demonstration garden along Bellingham’s Interurban Trail.