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Apply: Washington State Organic and Sustainable Farming Fund

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Now accepting applications for 2022!

 

Overview

Tilth Alliance is accepting applications from farmers who seek financial assistance in support of projects that improve the economic viability, social impact, or environmental sustainability of their farm businesses and/or their community. The goal of this grant program is to support organic and regenerative agricultural practices and mitigate climate change; projects that further these objectives, will be considered for an award.

Watch an information session on Zoom.

Eligibility

Below are the eligibility requirements. Note that an individual farm business is not eligible to receive more than $20,000 over a five-year period. This grant program is open to all Washington State farmers who:

  • Currently employ or are adopting practices that follow regenerative, sustainable, and/or organic principles (this includes conventional farms that are transitioning into organic, sustainable, or regenerative production).  
  • Have been in business for at least two years. 
  • Are seeking to improve and/or expand their operation, improve environmental impacts, or become a more sustainable business.  
  • Previous grantees are eligible to apply but priority will be given to new applicants.

Funding Priorities

  • Projects that enhance and measure carbon sequestration, restore soil health, utilize cover crops, preserve and create habitats, increase biodiversity, and employ environmentally safe waste management practices.
  • Projects that involve resource sharing (i.e. Will more than one farm benefit from the project? Can the research, knowledge, and resources acquired through the grant be shared with others?)
  • Conventional farmers who want to transition to organic, sustainable, or regenerative practices.
  • Projects led by or emphasize working with women, BIPOC, veterans, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Funded Topics

Grant funds are available for projects that support organic and regenerative farming practices and mitigate climate change. Successful projects will improve a farm’s environmental, social, and economic impacts via strategies which create new revenue streams, improve quality of life and operations, or increase sustainability.

Example topics (for illustration only, not an exhaustive list):

Proposals on these topics are likely to receive consideration: Proposals on these topics are not likely to be considered:
  • Composting, soil control, erosion prevention, permaculture practices 
  • Conserving and restoring natural habitats, protection of native pollinators 
  • Production and/or use of renewable energy
  • Integrated Pest Management planning 
  • Organic farming practices and certification 
  • No till or minimal tilling planning 
  • On farm seed saving and regional resiliency
  •  Tractor purchase
  • Refrigeration projects*
  • High tunnels*
  • General operating funds, farm staff labor
  • *Unless accompanied by a robust justification and explanation of sustainability including renewable energy or recycling plan as appropriate

Funding Levels and Term

Grant requests can be made up to $10,000. Proposals should have objectives that are realistically achievable in a 9-month period (April-December). The total granted amount must be spent by December 31st, 2022. The amount granted (whether in part or in full) will depend on applicant pool needs. Multi-year projects or those exceeding the maximum allowed request will not be funded. We recognize the importance of multi-year projects but cannot guarantee funding for projects beyond a single year.

Proposal and Review Criteria

In order to evaluate grant proposals fairly, all submissions should follow the instructions listed below. Proposals that exceed the word limit, or otherwise do not meet requirements, will not be considered for funding. The successful application will provide a clear rationale for the project and demonstrate a significant need for the proposed project. Demonstrate why your project is necessary, present measurable outcomes and impacts, and explain specifically what you hope to accomplish with the funds. Please note that proposals that include multiple projects will not be considered.

The primary audience for your proposal is the grant review committee. This group is composed of Tilth Alliance staff members, farmers, and other agricultural professionals, with a wide range of expertise. All reviewers will score applications individually, and then come together for group discussions. The scoring will be used as a tool for discussion, but not the primary means of decision-making. Projects will be scored in the following categories:

  • Environmental Sustainability Impact - Does the proposed project have the potential to significantly improve the environmental sustainability of the farm and/or community? 
  • Farm Business Impact - Will the proposed project significantly contribute to the success and livelihood of the farm business? 
  • Community Impact - Will the proposed project contribute to community well-being? 
  • Justification - Is the budget reasonable and well-justified? Is the proposed project feasible given the time period and resources? 
  • Demonstrated Need - Does the farm have other means to fund this project? Will this project be able to be completed if grant funds are not awarded?

To Apply

    1. Complete the grant application form, which is a single document containing both a cover sheet and narrative description components. 
    2. Obtain two letters of support from agricultural peers, mentors, educators, or community organizations, to be submitted with your application as a single document by email or mail to the addresses listed below. Letters should directly reference the applicant name and farm name. 
    3. Submit completed application, including the grant application form and the two letters of support, as a single document by email or mail to the addresses listed below. Failure to submit application as a single document (Word, PDF, or by mail) could result in disqualification of your application. 
    Email Option Paper Option
    Email application to applications@tilthalliance.org
    • Send proposal as a single Word of PDF attachment
    • We will not accept proposals submitted in the body of an email
    • Failure to submit proposal as a single document could disqualify proposal
    • Use the subject line "WSOSFF Grant Proposal"
    Mail application materials to:
    Tilth Alliance
    Attn: Grant Applications
    4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Suite 100
    Seattle, WA 98103


    Applications must be postmarked or received electronically no later than January 31, 2022.


     

     

    Review Process

    Proposals will be evaluated and award recommendations made by the grant review committee. The committee reserves the right to seek outside technical expertise as necessary. Decisions made by the committee are final.

    The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposals:

    1. Deliverables that will foster improvement of social, environmental, and/or economic sustainability of the operation, overall operational viability, and/or the application of sustainable or organic farming practices.
    2. Identifiable and measurable outcomes specified.
    3. Budget is well-justified and details project expenses. Matching funds or in-kind contributions to the project (if any) have been secured, or have been applied for.  
    4. Proposal demonstrates the conceptual adequacy of the project and presents a realistic timeline for each of the project's activities.

    If Your Project is Funded

    Applicants will be notified by March 1, 2022 of award. Awarded funds will be transferred to the grantee after the grantee signs an award agreement and submits a W-9 form. Funds are expected to be distributed by March 22, 2022.

    Final Reporting Requirements 

    Unless other arrangements have been made, grant recipients are required to provide a project final report by February 15, 2023. Evaluation involves analyzing whether the original project objectives were met.

    The specific format for reports will be shared with grant recipients in December 2022. In general, however, preparation of a final report should require no more than two hours, and the report should include the following: 

    • Details on how funds were spent as well as actual cost of the project vs. original budget in the form of a formal expenditure verification
    • Project challenges and successes from the recipient’s perspective
    • Completed questionnaire, narrative about how the grant has furthered your operation and general bio of farm
     

    For additional information, contact:

    Teri Rakusin
    (206) 633-0451 ext. 133
    terirakusin@tilthalliance.org

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