In June 2016, FoodShare partnered with the Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network and a $45,000 investment from the Greenbelt Fund to create a new microgrants program for farmers – the 2016 Production Opportunities Program. The program was designed to help increase market opportunities for farmers by offering $500 to $2,000 in matching funding for farmers to introduce new products, scale up, extend their growing season, and improve quality and value.
To date, the Production Opportunities Program is helping 32 farms with a wide range of projects.
How are some farmers using this funding?
- At Coopers CSA Farm and Field Sparrow Farms, hoophouses and irrigation equipment are assisting with raising sought-after pastured poultry.
- A filling machine is enabling Spade & Spoon to scale up production of preserves from their home-grown produce.
- A cheese aging room at Secret Lands Farm will expand the varieties of sheep cheeses on market tables.
- At Nith Valley Organics, adding buried pipes is not only delivering water to thirsty crops more efficiently, 'it's a quality of life issue', says farmer Nathan Klassen, as it reduces the stress that comes with easily damaged and high maintenance pipes above ground.
- The addition of a commercial kitchen will provide important winter income from value-added products at DeJong Acres.
For a full list of the participating farms, see below: