Local small farms are important

Good Farm Fund awards grants to 14 Mendocino County farms

By: Erick O’Donnell

The Good Farm Fund, an agricultural grant program sponsored by North Coast Opportunities, awarded $20,000 worth of grants this week to 14 small farms throughout Mendocino County.

The grants will fund small infrastructure projects that will allow farmers to increase food production and, hence, revenue and profit, helping them to overcome steep economic obstacles on their way to self-sufficiency, said Caroline Radice, who sits on the program’s steering and grant committees.

With high land prices, farmers face a high barrier to entry, and the cost of investing in capacity-building projects can further impede the ability of small farmers to establish themselves in the capital-intensive business of agriculture, she said.

The Good Farm Fund will fully bankroll some projects and partially fund others, with matching grants or financing from other sources, she said.

Members of the grant committee were reluctant to let any projects go without financial support, so they decided to spread funds over as many projects as they could while ensuring other funding sources would cover the shortfalls, ultimately approving grants for 14 out of the 16 projects, she said.

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