Farm Fund–A History of Success
Since being founded in 2000, the Farm Fund has:
- Partnered in launching Whatcom County’s first local labeling program to highlight local products; assisted the Bellingham Farmer’s Market with county-wide marketing.
- 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 provided funding for farm tours that connect new farmers with mentor farmers, and for first-year farms to take a QuickBooks course in partnership with WSU Whatcom County Extension’s Cultivating Success “Agricultural Entrepreneurship” class.
- 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 work by Community to Community Development on cooperative development for farm workers and Latino consumer access to local food.
- Partnered with Growing WA to launch the Just Food charitable (subsidized) CSA, and to fund the Whatcom Grain Project, a collaboration of local farms working to grow and market grain varieties well-suited for NW Washington (human consumption, feed and cover crops).
- Provided start up funds for the Food Bank Farm and Local Food Works; supported the establishment of a farm manager position and farm interns. Funded the Food Bank’s “Seed Money Project.” Farms receive funding towards early season costs and return a portion of their crops to the Food Bank. The program benefits the farms with early0season capital while opening doors for future contract purchasing with the Food Bank.
- Helped cover development costs for Kulshan Community Land Trust’s Affordable Access to Land for Farming program.
- Gave two grants to Bellingham Urban Gardens (BUGS) for farm implements, building a farm bike trailer and to start a demonstration garden along the inter-urban trail.
- Established a low-interest, revolving loan fund for local, sustainable farms.
- Provided grants to Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden farmers markets for promotion, start up costs and adding an EBT (food stamp card) system, WIC (Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program) vouchers and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) coupons.
- Funded Cloud Mountain Farm Center’s leafy greens variety trials for local season extension (two workshops, fact sheets, consumer tastings and field trials with five local farmers)
- Gave a grant to Inspiration Farm and Celt Schira for a set of screens for a seed cleaner to benefit local seed growers, improve grain trials, support a community seed network and educate about seed production methods.
- Contributed scholarships for local growers to attend the first Northwest Washington Sustainable Agriculture Conference.