Fresh Food from Farmers of Color Fund AWARDS ANNOUNCED!

Fresh Food from Farmers of Color Fund (FFFC) awards 25 Farmers of Color over $670,000 in grant funding to Increase Local Food Production and Expand Access to Healthy Food  on Chicago’s South and West Sides

WOODLAWN – The Fresh Food from Farmers of Color Fund (FFFC), administered by Experimental Station, awarded grants to farmers of color to expand food production, site infrastructure, and capacity for their businesses to further support access to fresh produce to residents on the South and West Sides of Chicago. In partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), Experimental Station distributed over $670,000 to farmers of color committed to fostering farmers markets and providing access to locally grown produce on the South and West Sides of Chicago. 

“We are excited about the short- and long-term benefits the FFFC fund will provide to each of the farmers that received a grant,” stated Connie Spreen, Executive Director, Experimental Station. “It is critical to our local food systems that we both continue to support independent farmers and expand food access to residents on the South and West Sides of Chicago especially during this time when many families continue to face challenges as a result of the impact of COVID-19.” 

“We are pleased to partner with the Experimental Station on the Fresh Food from Farmers Color Fund initiative.  This program will allow for access to nutritious, locally grown options to area residents during incredibly challenging times.  We look forward to serving communities with fresh food options that will benefit everyone’s health and wellness,” said Stephanie Bess, Interim Associate Director, Office of Family Wellness, IDHS. 

The 25 farms owned, led, or founded by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers were selected by a Review Committee that included representatives from Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Advocates for Urban Agriculture, University of Illinois Extension, Grow Greater Englewood, and Experimental Station. The farm sites range in size from small neighborhood community gardens to farmers with over 30-years of farming experience. Most importantly, all of the farmers committed to participating in farmers markets on the South and West Sides of Chicago or providing fresh produce to one of the 16 WIC Food & Nutrition Centers located throughout Chicago. 

Grant recipients include Belly of the Block, Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living, Bronzeville Neighborhood Farm, Dusable City Ancestral Winery & Vineyards, Edna White Community Garden, Fresher Together, Global Garden Refugee Training, Greasy Gardens, Green Pastures Echo, Iyabo Farms, Mother Carr’s Farm, New Magnolia, Patchwork Farm, Rehoboth Blueberry Farm, Broadview Farm, Star Farm, Closed Loop Farm, Catatumbo Cooperative, Run A-Way Buckers Club, Smooth & Social Roots, Sowers Grove, Urban Growers Collective, West Side Bee Boyz. 

Farmers’ proposals were submitted both individually or in collaboration with other farmers and include plans to increase scale and efficiency of their farming operations, capital investments and purchases such as refrigeration units and food storage. 

For more information, contact Michelle E.L. Merritt at michelle@experimentalstation.org or visit www.experimentalstation.org.