Grants for Farmers
Nonprofits Grants for Farmers in the United States
Are you a nonprofit looking for the best list of grants to support farmers? If you're looking for grants supporting agricultural projects and farmers, we've got you covered!
Read more about each grant by clicking into them below, or start your 14-day free trial of Instrumentl to get active grant opportunities that match your specific programs and organization.
NOTE: We are shifting to a rolling process for identifying and vetting organizations. This will allow us to revisit some of the most promising ideas in our existing pool and see how they are progressing, while also searching for new ideas.
If your organization meets the above criteria and you believe your idea is a fit for The Audacious Project, we encourage you to complete the brief survey. We will review every submission on a rolling basis and the link will stay open all year; over time, we may contact a small number of survey responders to submit an application.
Housed at TED, which has a long track record of surfacing ideas worth spreading, and supported by The Bridgespan Group, the project is a unique partnership between some of the most respected organizations in philanthropy and the public. The Audacious Project attempts to address a major frustration faced by the world’s change-makers. Without access to venture capital or stock markets, social entrepreneurs have to pitch donors one-by-one, often a deeply inefficient process for all involved. The Audacious Project aims to: (1) encourage the world’s greatest change-agents to dream bigger than ever before (2) shape their best ideas into viable multi-year plans and (3) present those ideas in a compelling way to potential supporters. Our goal is to make philanthropy more collaborative, more inspiring — and more effective.
Launched in 2018, The Audacious Project has already shown what humanity can accomplish when bold ideas meet real resources. From the thousands of people in the US awaiting trials from home because of The Bail Project’s fast growth, to the hundreds of thousands of smallscale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa enjoying better harvests because of One Acre Fund’s increased capacity, The Audacious Project is empowering social entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders to take on the world’s biggest and most urgent challenges.
Every year, The Audacious Project works with proven change-makers to surface their best, boldest ideas for tackling global problems.
Each candidate goes through a rigorous ideation and due diligence process, with research and vetting done by teams at both TED and The Bridgespan Group. From the initial spark of an idea to a completed project proposal, the candidates are narrowed down to a group of finalists whose ideas feel truly audacious with a clear and viable path to execution. These finalists are presented privately to groups of donors and unveiled at the annual TED conference. The goal is that each attracts a community of supporters, from both the philanthropic space and the public.
Then the hard work starts. Ideas that are part of The Audacious Project typically have a timeline of three to five years. While public supporters give meaningful donations online, donors typically commit financial support paid annually, provided project milestones are met. We offer regular updates and pass on all supporters' ideas, messages of encouragement and offers of other resources. Several years on, we will celebrate success together — or learn from failure. Either way, we will have participated in a new form of philanthropy.
Cowles Charitable Trust
NOTE: The Trust Board of Trustees meets four times a year in January, April, July and October to consider grant requests. An eligible request that arrives too late for one meeting will be placed on the agenda of the following meeting. Proposals must be received on the following dates to be included in the agendas noted:
December 1 - January agenda
March 1 - April agenda
June 1 - July agenda
September 1 - October agenda
If any of the above dates fall on a weekend or holiday, the proposal must be received the first working day following the published deadline.
Our mission is to continue and further the philanthropic legacy of Gardner Cowles, Jr. and the Cowles family, which includes promotion of education, social justice, health, and the arts.
The Cowles Charitable Trust was first established in 1948 by Gardner “Mike” Cowles, Jr. (1903-1985). Born into the Cowles publishing family of Des Moines, Iowa, Mike was the youngest of Gardner Cowles and Florence Call Cowles’ six children. A newspaper editor and publisher by trade, he was committed to his family’s traditions of responsible, public-spirited, and innovative journalism as well as philanthropy.
Mike always said that his mother, through her liberal social views, humor, and soft-spoken nature, was his greatest influence. One of the first women in Iowa to earn her college degree, Florence Call made philanthropy her life’s work, beginning by establishing a seed savings bank in her living room to help neighboring farmers through the winter. A strong advocate of women’s reproductive rights and family planning, she supported Margaret Sanger’s mission, including bailing her out of jail on more than one occasion.
Mike continued his mother’s legacy of activism and was politically engaged both nationally and internationally. The Cowles family was passionate about civil rights and race relations in 20th century America, as demonstrated not only through their philanthropy but also via their trade. In a 1955 speech detailing what makes a great editor, Mike said:
“The greatest editors I know are just like the greatest educators and are successful for the same reason. They are thoughtful men with scrupulous regard for the truth. They are men who strive to stir the best in the human race, not pander to the worst. They are men who dare to lead, even when the direction is temporarily dangerous and unpopular.”
With his brother John, Mike was co-owner of Cowles Media Company. In 1937, he published the first issue of LOOK, a national picture magazine with roots in Mike’s passion for photojournalism and the journalistic innovations that the brothers had implemented at their newspapers. For Mike, LOOK was a visual tool meant to inspire and open the world to its readers; an instrument meant to facilitate one of his greatest passions: education. Of education, Mike stated in a 1949 speech:
“The only answer to ignorance is education and more education. And I mean more than just the formal education in more and better schools, colleges and universities. I mean more adult education, more public forums, more discussion groups. But above everything else, I mean better newspaper and magazine editing, better news and discussion and debate programs on the radio. And I mean the use of the powerful new medium of television to make people understand and think. Too much thinking nowadays goes on in a bath of noise, because life is so busy, so complex…leaving the common man appallingly confused and misinformed.”
Mike Cowles left to his family a philanthropic legacy that continues to this day. The majority of the Cowles Charitable Trust’s current trustees are Mike’s direct descendants.
For more information on Mike Cowles and the Cowles family, click here.
Clif Family Foundation
Welcome to the Clif Family Foundation, an organization we started in 2006 to support small-to-midsize grassroots groups led by people whose vision and commitment we deeply admire. We have been proud to support hundreds of organizations that are working tirelessly to strengthen our food system, advance equitable community health outcomes, and protect the places we play by being stewards of our environment and natural resources. Our desire has been to leave the world a better place for our children. Now that we’re grandparents, the urgency to build a healthier, just, and sustainable world is even more personal. We look forward to expanding the reach and impact of the foundation in the years to come. This includes working with more organizations to make their innovative ideas a reality and supporting a new generation of leaders. We believe we can all do more good in the world. Together.
- Strengthen Our Food System
- Grow organic farming and other climate-friendly agriculture
- Safeguard agricultural seeds and biodiversity
- Democratize access to fresh and nutrient-dense foods
- Connect families with local food outlets and farmers
- Create viable opportunities for the next generation of farmers
- Enhance Equitable Community Health Outcomes
- Promote clean water access
- Curtail exposure to toxic materials
- Increase access to nature and outdoor activities
- Expand pedestrian and bicycling opportunities
- Improve farmworkers’ standard of living, wages, and working conditions
- Safeguard Our Environment and Natural Resources
- Accelerate action on climate change
- Advance renewable energy and support green jobs
- Break the resource waste cycle
- Preserve watersheds, open spaces, and wild places
- Conserve water supplies for fair, long-term access
Priority is given to applicants that:
- Address two or more of our funding priorities at the same time:
- Strengthen our food system
- Enhance equitable community health outcomes
- Safeguard our environment and natural resources
- Demonstrate strong community ties.
- Operate within viable and clearly defined plans for positive change.
Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR)
About Seeding Solutions
Launched in 2017, Seeding Solutions is our annual competitive grant program that supports bold research in any of our six Challenge Areas or builds bridges between our Challenge Areas. FFAR awards up to 10 grants ranging between $300,000 to $1 million. Grantees must provide matching funds from non-federal partners.
We support innovative projects that address challenges in food supply and agroecosystem management through novel partnerships. Such collaborations provide opportunities to engage stakeholders as integral members of the research team and increase the likelihood of a project’s application beyond its scope.
What to know when applying for Seeding Solutions
Seeding Solutions proposals should:
- Demonstrate the potential for impact within our Challenge Area priorities.
- Address pervasive challenges in food supply and agroecosystem management.
- Benefit the public by advancing science-based decision support, enhancing transparency through open platforms or supporting economic development opportunities that strengthen the food and agriculture workforce.
- Maximize potential for real-world application by developing bold partnerships with stakeholders, including private and nonprofit organizations, non-federal government agencies, research institutions and farmers.
What are the requirements to apply?
FFAR seeks projects that foster innovation with the potential for transformative impact within FFAR’s Challenge Areas. Applications that address the following will receive preference:
- Contribute to the goal of sustainable food and agriculture, defined as practices that “satisfy human food and fiber needs; enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends; make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the economic viability of farm operation; and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.” (Food and Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990, Public Law 101-624, Title XVI, Subtitle A, Section 1603).
- Accelerate innovation within FFAR’s Challenge Areas. For this request for applications (RFA), FFAR defines innovation as follows:
- Radical Innovation: Development of new technologies, software, algorithms, methodology, or products with the potential to transform agricultural systems.
- Applied Innovation: Application and validation of new or emerging technologies, processes or management strategies to address significant challenges in food and agriculture systems.
- Re-imagined Innovation: Adaptation of existing technologies, processes or management strategies for entirely new agricultural applications.
- Address an aspect of the following Challenge Area priorities. Additional information is available through the Challenge Area links provided. We encourage applicants to reach out to the Scientific Program Director of the appropriate Challenge Area of interest to hone ideas before submitting a pre-application (see Application Assistance below).
- Soil Health: Advanced understanding of what soil health is, how it is measured and how to manage and optimize the sustainable delivery of the ecosystem services which soils provide
- Sustainable Water Management: Interdisciplinary, model-based research related to near-surface hydrology and designed to advance precision agriculture and water management
- Next Generation Crops: Advanced breeding methods and development of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance for crops grown in organic and conventional cropping systems to increase farmer profitability and environmental resilience
- Advanced Animal Systems: Improved animal health, welfare and productivity, antibiotic stewardship and the environment through innovative partnershipp
- Urban Food Systems: Elucidation of connections between urban food systems and the urban environment, in addition to the connections between rural and urban communities to improve food and nutritional security, human health outcomes, economic opportunities and food system resiliency through transdisciplinary partnerships
- Health- Agriculture Nexus: Systems-level approaches (both technological and non-technological) aimed at reducing food and nutritional insecurity and improving human health in the United States and worldwide
- Demonstrate fully integrated partnerships with different sectors (private, non-government organizations (NGO), governments, academia and other stakeholders) such that research outcomes may be scalable and applicable to food and agriculture systems.The development of public-private partnerships is central to FFAR’s vision and core mission: Building unique partnerships to support innovative science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges. External matching funds (i.e., contributions provided by partners outside of an applicant’s home institution) will strengthen the application’s standing. These partners may include but are not limited to private and public corporations, non-profits, foundations, commodity and trade groups, and state and local governments. Unique partnerships including organizations that may not typically work in agriculture, are strongly encouraged.
- Serve the public good by making data open and accessible to the public, creating unique economic development opportunities, or contributing to food and agriculture workforce development.
FFAR, as a part of its mission, seeks “not only brilliant minds but also fresh perspectives tackling today’s challenges in food and agriculture. We embrace diversity and promote inclusiveness in all we do, from the teams we build to the grantees we support.” FFAR also understands that the outside-the-box thinking needed to drive innovation occurs when researchers with different skillsets and experience collaborate. With that spirit of diversity and inclusiveness in mind, cross-disciplinary research teams, especially those that include disciplines not traditionally associated with food or agriculture science, to develop innovative solutions to address current agricultural challenges are strongly encouraged to apply to the Seeding Solutions program.
Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation
The foundation seeks to foster environmental restoration, preservation and education with emphasis on seed moneys that lead to establishing demonstration projects that link rural and urban settings.
Projects could orient toward use of resources in sustainable ways, integration of food production, technology, economics, and community development in harmonious ways with the natural world, preservation of wildlife habitat as well as the diversity of wild and domestic plants and animals, and conservation of wilderness and open space.
Of interest might be projects designed to restore and maintain biological diversity of flora and fauna or establishment of seed banks, sustainable land use, or appropriate technology for alternative energy resources.
Efforts to find space in tight urban areas, bring the countryside to the city in the form of gardens, landscaping, and space are encouraged. Likewise, efforts to provide space and alternative living to urban people in a rural area are welcome.
A particular concern is with sustaining agriculture through organic, biodynamic, permacultural and other processes, training young people to be farmers, and linking farms to communities through community supported agriculture.
Another area of need would be support for small alternative presses and periodicals that focus on issues and problems and their resolution and desire to impact broadly on society with their creativity and new ideas.
With its interest in Laguna Wilderness Press and its home base in southern California, the foundation desires to direct attention to environmental groups and concerns in Laguna Beach, especially preservation and restoration of areas under conservation in the open space known as the Laguna Greenbelt or Wilderness and including the Laguna Bluebelt; projects that expand open space in the inner greenbelt, promote community gardening, including in its schools, restore wherever possible the canyon creeks to their natural setting, and help to establish the legacy of a unique place and its traditions of village diverse planning and vision, plein air painting, and historic homes and sites.
Food and Farm Communications Fund
Who We Are
The Food and Farm Communications Fund is a multi-funder collaborative and pooled grant program organized around a shared belief in the role of strategic communications and narrative to build power and embolden transformative change in our food and farm systems. We believe that working together, with the long view in mind, will help us to invest our time and resources strategically. We find strength in our networks, yet know we have much to learn. To that end, we maintain an open application process and take cues from those closest to the problems we seek to address.
Core Grants Program
The Core Grants Program is the central offering of the Food and Farm Communications Fund, awarding targeted communications support to community-based nonprofit organizations and grassroots networks working to advance systemic and cultural change across our food and farm systems. We’ve set our sights on building power and shifting narratives, and are looking to support organizations vested in the long view, with equity and resilience as central pillars of their vision.
Core Grants are intended to:
Bolster communications capacity and strategy
- establishing or upgrading communications tools, platforms, or systems, to strengthen your organization’s ability to understand, target, and reach diverse audiences;
- developing content, collateral, or creative media initiatives to convey your organization’s work in a more impactful way;
- comprehensive, integrated communications planning and strategy-setting;
- professional development and training, to improve the communications capacity of staff and leadership;
- as well as short-term communications staffing solutions (including partnerships with outside consultants) that demonstrate sustained benefit to the organization.
Shift public narrative
- narrative development work that serves to amplify a grassroots food and farm narrative and/or debunk misleading dominant narratives;
- message framing and integration;
- as well as development of content, collateral, or creative media initiatives that convey the story of your constituents in a more impactful way.
Build connections and community engagement
- campaigns, events, or experiences that utilize communications tools and activities to foster constituent and public engagement around food and farm systems issues;
- multicultural, equity, and justice-based approaches to communications;
- as well as communications projects that bring people together across divides (geographic, racial, economic), to foster empathy and solidarity, and to build collective power.
Range and Term of Core Grants
Core Grants are expected to range from $15,000 to 40,000 over a 12-month term, with $25,000 being the typical funding amount. Grant amounts are contingent on demonstrated need, alignment with the Fund’s purpose and criteria, as well as the Fund’s giving capacity in any given year. Upon successful completion of a Core Grant, grantees may be invited to apply for a mini-grant in the second year to further boost the organization’s communications work. Renewals of Core Grant awards are rare and by invitation only; they should not be counted on for project success. Core Grantees may be invited to participate in optional communications capacity-building, training, and peer-networking opportunities during the term of their grant.