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.

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

Funding Opportunities for Growers and Food Systems Work

Arnold Brownberry Oroweat Organic Spring Planting Grant 2021We are sponsoring our second annual Arnold/Brownberry/Oroweat Organic Spring Planting Grant to provide resources for public food gardens to thrive. This spring, we will be offering grants of $5000 each to food garden projects located in varies metropolitan areas. For questions, contact Roger Doiron by phone (207) 956-0606 or email at roger@seedmoney.org. Amount: $5000 per city. Deadline: 11:59 EASTERN time. February 28. 

Frontera Farmer Foundation The application for 2021 grants is now available!  Before applying, please carefully read the eligibility requirements. Comments, concerns and questions can be sent to Frontera Farmer Foundation director Casey Cora by emailing ccora@fronteragrill.net.                 Deadline: 11 p.m. (CST) on Sunday, March 14.

Nature’s Path Foods Inc. – “Gardens for Good 2021 Contest” The Gardens for Good grant program supports community gardens across North America who are growing organic food and doing good in their communities.  To spread the love a little further in 2021, we will award 21 garden projects with $5,000 each this year! Deadline: March 24th.

 USDA Organic Transitions The overall goal of the Organic Transitions Program (ORG) is to support the development and implementation of research, extension and higher education programs to improve the competitiveness of organic livestock and crop producers, as well as those who are adopting organic practices. Amount: up to $600,000. Deadline: March 15th, 2021

USDA Value Added Producer Grants The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products. The goals of this program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities and increase producer income. Amount: from $75,000 – $200,000. Deadline: March 16th, 2021.

Live Healthy Chicago seeks to distribute  community-based grants to organizations who are implementing COVID-19 response strategies in Chicago’s black and brown communities. Register Here

Rolling Applications

The Awesome Foundation – Chicago Chapter has been funding awesomeness in the Windy City since the summer of 2011. They’ve funded everything from little free libraries and puppet shows to electron microscopes and a temporary mini golf course on Milwaukee Avenue. The Chicago trustees generally meet on the third Tuesday of every month to review proposals.

Network for Good Awards monthly grants to promote fundraising activities and capacity building that can lead to revenue sustainability to 501(c)3s in any industry. Average grants range in size from $1,000-$5,000. Application deadlines are the 15th of the month, non-profits are encouraged to re-apply monthly.

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.

Grassroots Exchange Fund grants to grassroots organizations working to promote environmental justice and social change. Priority will be given to small, community-based groups seeking to meet face-to-face with other grassroots organizations, to build collaborative campaigns, and to benefit from technical assistance opportunities.

Imperfect Produces Feed Change Fund provides grants up to $5,000 to nonprofit organizations whose work relates to their mission of eliminating food waste and building a better food system for everyone.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneering Ideas: Exploring the Future to Build a Culture of Health grant is seeking proposals with innovative and intersectional ideas that create long term solutions for health equity.

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. Applications are reviewed three times a year; the deadlines are the 1st of October, February and June.

The Seabury Foundation provides one time grants to organizations in Chicago with a focus on cultural and civic institutions, educational opportunities and conservation and sustainability. Letters of inquiry are accepted three times a year; September 15, January 15 and June 15.

State and Federal Grant Opportunities

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.

NCR-Sare Farmer Rancher Grant is a competitive grant that funds farmers and ranchers striving for agricultural sustainability.
Proposal due in early December

USDA Community Prosperity resource matrix organizes funding opportunities available for rural and underserved communities. This resource guide includes technical, training and planning assistance as well as financial assistance.

 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 Executive Director, Laura Calvert (director@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.