Greener Fields Together™ has announced winners of the first Cultivating Change grant program. Cultivating Change is committed to supporting local farms financially to improve their ability to produce, market and distribute fresh produce.
Twelve grants were awarded to eleven local farms in amounts ranging from $3,000 to $10,000. Grants for $10,000 were bestowed by a panel of industry leaders. Farms winning awards of $3,000 and $5,000 were selected by peer review and online voting. One farm, Jaemor Farms in Alto, GA, won both a panel judge and peer review grant.
The winning local farms are:
Jaemor Farms, Alto, GA — Plastic Bins to improve food safety practices, $13,000; ProAct Distributor, Royal Food Service.
Central Texas Specialty Growers, LLC, Plano, TX — Rainwater Conservation Collection System, $10,000; Hardies Fresh Foods.
Poche Family Farm, Independence, LA — High Tunnels, $5,000; Capitol City Produce.
Hunt Family Farm, San Luis Obispo, CA — Refrigerated Delivery Truck, $5,000; Family Tree Produce.
Fullei Fresh, Miami, FL — In-House Listeria Testing, $5,000; Freedom Fresh.
J&C Farms & Groves, Miami, FL — Purchase equipment to automate, streamline, maximize farming practices and employee well being, $5,000; Freedom Fresh.
Sage Farms, Tulsa, OK — Increase greenhouse sq. ft. for additional growing capacity, $5,000; Vinyard Fruit & Vegetable Co.
DLF International, Ft Pierce, FL — Website development, $3,000; Freedom Fresh.
R. Pontano Produce, Lake Worth, FL — Microgreen Dryer, $3,000; Freedom Fresh
Rendleman Orchards, Alto Pass, IL — Food Safety Permanent Training Facility and Enhanced Traceability Technology, $3,000; Ole Tyme.
StoneCreek Hydroponics, Hartwell, GA — —Build a 1,200 square foot refrigerated packing house, $3,000; Royal Food Service.
'We are extremely proud of the winning farms,' says Max Yeater, president of PRO*ACT. 'Greener Fields Together was developed to achieve measurable sustainability improvements in the fresh produce supply chain and this program supports that mission. The grants will be a boon to the winners' ability to produce high-quality, local produce. We look to them as leaders in the future of our industry.'
Cultivating Change grants will be funded on an annual basis to qualifying growers. Applications for the next round of awards will be accepted between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, 2016.
Greener Fields Together is a collaboration of environmentally responsible parties, including farmers, distributors and foodservice operators, who have come together to make steady, measurable improvements in sustainability and food safety practices through all levels of the produce supply chain.
PRO*ACT is North America's leading distributor of fresh food to the foodservice and retail industries, sourcing from premier national, regional and local farmers.