GRANTS & FUNDING

Check here for the latest opportunities in grants and funding for urban agriculture projects in Chicago. If you have an opportunity to share, please send information to: info@auachicago.org.

The Michael Fields Agriculture Institute’s Grant Advising Program provides free grant writing assistance, including clarifying and articulating ideas, assessing which grant program fits needs, and crafting a high-quality proposal. Interested individuals and organizations can also be added to an e-mail list announcing new grant opportunities by making a request to grants@michaelfields.org

Corporate & Foundation Philanthropy

Patagonia provides grants between $5,000-$20,000 to 501c3 environmental organizations that seek to protect both the environment and affected communities, including supporting local, organic and sustainable agriculture. Application deadline: One proposal per group in a given fiscal year (May 1–April 30).

Clif Bar Family Foundation provides grants to 501(c)3  organizations that meet this eligibility quiz that are working to protect natural resources, strengthen communities and the food system, and enhance public health. Priority is given to applicants that address the funding priorities from a holistic perspective. Deadline: June 1st, 2019

New Earth Foundation funds environmental and community programs and projects, including garden programs that are significantly innovative, transformative and effective. Smaller, newer nonprofits are the focus of grants given. Deadline to submit a letter of inquiry: July 1st, 2019.

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation provides in-kind donations of fruit trees, equipment, volunteer workers, and training to 501(c)3s, public schools, and government entities to create orchards in communal and public places.

State and Federal Grant Opportunities

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding is available for hoop houses through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Financial and technical assistance is available specifically for Cook County urban farmers. Application Deadlines: April 19th & May 17th, 2019.

Illinois Specialty Crop Grants are dispersing more than $700,000 over three years to specialty-crop growers to encourage fresh, locally grown produce. Applications are available on the Agriculture Department’s website. State officials encourage grant proposals that center on subjects such as food safety, specialty crop research, supporting organic specialty crops, developing improve seed varieties, pest and disease control and more. Eligible projects must begin in calendar year 2020. Application Deadline: April 26th, 2019.

SARE Youth Educator Grants are competitive grants up to $4,000 for educators to provide programming on sustainable agriculture for youth. Application Deadlines: Vary by program.

USDA Special Grants Research Program Aquaculture Research supports the development of an environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the U.S. and generates new science-based information and innovation to address industry constraints. Application Deadline: May 28, 2019

Open Enrollment Loan & Financing Opportunities

Kiva provides 0% interest loans of up to $10,000 to entrepreneurs, including urban farm businesses. To promote urban farmers’ access to capital, AUA is a proud Kiva Trustee, which means we help spread the word on these valuable resources and publicly vouch for urban farm entrepreneurs. Kiva trustees do not handle or disburse the loans. To learn more, please review the program overview, step-by-step guide to apply, and reach out to AUA’s Programs Manager, Nick Lucas (outreach@auachicago.org) with any questions.

USDA Farm Storage Facility Loans provide up to $50,000 in low-interest financing to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store or process agricultural products. Most recently, these loans made available funding for refrigerated vehicles. Funding: Up to $500,000 per loan.

USDA Farm Service Agency Microloans provide up to $50,000 in financial assistance for small, beginning farmer, niche and non-traditional farm ownership or operations. Non-traditional farm operations can include truck farms, farms, direct marketing farmers, Community Supported Agriculture, restaurants and grocery stores, or those using hydroponic, aquaponics, organic, and/or vertical growing methods. Maximum of $50,000.

USDA EZ Guarantee Loans provides $100,000 to help beginning, small underserved, and family farmers and ranchers to purchase farmland or finance agricultural operations. The USDA also added a new category of lenders, including microlenders. Funding: Up to $100,000.

Whole Foods Micro-Producer Loan provides between $10,000 and $100,000 for expansion of farm operations, not to exceed 80% of total project cost. Existing vendor relationship with Whole Foods Market required.