Blooming Prairie Foundation Announces 2007 Awards

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In May the Blooming Prairie Foundation announced its 2007 list of awards to organizations focused on increasing cooperative initiatives and organic/sustainable agriculture for local producers, consumers and communities.

The Blooming Prairie Foundation was established in 2002 with money generated from the sale of Blooming Prairie Cooperative Warehouse, a distributor serving cooperative retailers of natural and organic products throughout a 12-state Midwestern area. To honor the history and success of Blooming Prairie Cooperative Warehouse, the Blooming Prairie Foundation was established as a 501©3 organization with a mission to:

  • Further the health of the people and the planet, and the cooperative business model, by supporting development, research, and educational efforts in the organic industry and cooperative community;
  • Encourage, support, promote and enhance the development of organic and natural products;
  • Encourage, support, promote and enhance cooperative development in the natural products industry.

Cornucopia Institute: $25,000

Nationally, over 1,100 organic consumers and farmer members of Cornucopia Institute endorse its concerted focus on economic justice for family farmers on regulatory, marketplace and investor community involvement. This funding will continue to support Cornucopia Institute programs, one of the most visible private consumer protection agencies working to protect organic integrity on the legislative and corporate level.

CSA Learning Center/Angelic Organics: $25,000

Providing trainees with hands-on experience, this organic teaching farm also provides research, mentoring services and placements on incubator farms for students to learn sustainable agriculture systems. Among its goals, the CSA Learning Center exists to increase the number of successful beginning farmers in northern Illinois and Wisconsin and to increase the number of acres being farmed in ways that protect and enhance the environment.

Family Farm Opportunity Center: $15,000

The Family Farm Opportunity Center’s Project, “Cooperative Farm and Food Distribution System,” is designed to lay the groundwork for a cooperative project that delivers natural food raised by Missouri family farmers to Missouri consumers through a home delivery marketing system. The goal is to launch a cooperative model enterprise that breaks new ground for sustainable agriculture, natural food cooperatives, and local food infrastructure development.

Farming and The Environment: $30,000

Farming and The Environment envisions a food delivery system in which regional producer-owned marketing/distribution cooperative businesses of family farms create direct market relationships with locally based retail grocery chains, new farmers market venues, and culinary arts professionals in urban centers. This system will strive to ensure the positive evolution of land stewardship and an equitable economic return to the farmers, while creating a replicable cooperative model than can help to better define and grow the local food system in Okanogan County, Wash.

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: $10,000

This funding will provide support for ongoing programs to provide education, advocacy and policy development promoting sustainable food systems, organic agriculture, and cooperative economic development to farmers across the country. IATP projects already in process include: Sow the Seeds Fund, 2007 Farm Bill action, and the Farm to Hospital initiative. Specifically this year, IATP will be addressing the dramatic changes and challenges for growers of biofuel agricultural products.

Midtown Farmers’ Market: $5,000

Supporting a community vision, this funding will be used to educate and encourage farmer vendors on the benefits of organic and sustainable farming as well as to recruit new organic and natural vendors to this community market of South Minneapolis, Minn. Growers from a two-state region will benefit from educational programs planned to educate shoppers about eating fresh, natural/organic foods to promote better health and sustainable agriculture.

Midwest Food Connection: $20,000

The Midwest Food Connection seeks to carry out its mission by conducting outreach to Minneapolis schoolchildren to teach them how to make healthful, responsible food choices.

Using fresh produce, organic fruit, quality grains, and healthful packaged items, these lessons create lasting impressions for students. This funding will assist Midwest Food Connection to expand the curriculum and strengthen partnerships with other community stakeholders.

Midwest Organic and Sustainable
Education Service: $25,000

The “Help Wanted: Organic Farmers” campaign is designed to recruit more organic farmers throughout the Midwest, and MOSES has already reached more than 1,000 farmers in the first year of this program. Using radio ads, a toll-free Farmer Transition Hotline, information packets, and trainings, they are centered on providing greater institutional support for organic expansion.

National Cooperative Business Association: $7,500

Under the direction of the USDA, the UW Madison will be the center of a national project set to study cooperatives in order to quantify their economic impact across all sectors. Matching funds were necessary to conduct the study, and NCBA requested this money as representational support from retail food cooperatives.

NCB Capital Impact: $25,000

The Food Co-op 500 Seed Fund aims to increase the number of retail grocery cooperatives in the U.S. from 300 to 500 in 10 years. Funds will by used by NCB to award individual grants of no more than $10,000 to startup cooperatives for organizing activities, studying the food co-op business, conducting community meetings, drafting articles and bylaws, writing business plans, and establishing accounting systems.

White Earth Land Recovery Project: $20,000

The Wild Rice and Seed Sovereignty Campaign was created to address the need and efforts to preserve indigenous rice strains by American Indian people and to protect their rice from biotech infusion and patent takeovers. Working in New Mexico and Minnesota, this funding will be used to continue outreach, publicity, media work, direct mailings, and email updates to further their commitment to economic justice and promote Native hand-harvested wild rice.

See other articles from this issue: #131 July - August - 2007