Grants Announced for Organic and Cooperative Projects

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The Blooming Prairie Foundation has announced its 2008 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 1993 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.

CSA Learning Center/Angelic : $25,000
Among the long-term goals for this organization is a focus on increasing the number of successful beginning small and medium-sized farmers in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. This funding will be used to support delivery of the CRAFT and Stateline Farm Beginnings programs, with an emphasis on improving mentoring services, opportunities to connect with incubator farms, evaluative processes and increasing support for Wisconsin farmers.

Cornucopia Institute: $25,000
The Cornucopia Institute is a progressive food and farm policy group, based in Wisconsin, that is working on issues concerning organic and sustainable food and agriculture. Funding will be used primarily to expand its soy investigation and to promote grassroots organizing and coalition building activities through the expansion of staff to assist in monitoring regulatory, marketplace, and investor community activities.

Coretta Scott King Center: $1,046
Martin Brown of Antioch University composed the documentary titled Legacies and Impacts , featuring the impact of the cooperative movement in Minnesota and exploring the impacts food cooperatives have had on their local communities, economies, and the environment.

Local Fair Trade Network: $25,000
The Local Fair Trade Label Project will be further developed with the benefit of this funding through establishing a comprehensive labeling system for their domestically Fair Trade certified farms. This organization continues to work toward improving the standard of living for the growers of natural and organic food while giving an additional market advantage for natural food cooperatives.

Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service: $30,000
To expand their Help Wanted: Organic Farmers program to expand organic production and the number of organic farmers in the Upper Midwest, MOSES intends to continue providing several support services for new or introductory organic farmers. In providing education and peer support on the transition to organic, this program is crucial to growing organic producers and increasing organic acreage in our region.

Ralph K. Morris Foundation : $10,000
As part of the Cooperative Foundation, which gives approximately $125,000 annually in grants and cooperative education support, the Ralph K. Morris Foundation exists to fund specifically cooperative members, employees, and developers attending cooperative and leadership-related conferences and tours. Named in memory of the noted cooperative attorney Ralph Morris, this fund is dedicated to the contributions to the cooperative movement he made during his legal career.

Practical Farmers of Iowa: $25,000
This funding will be used to assist the establishment of the Iowa Food Cooperative (IFC), a state-wide, web-based food ordering and distribution system to directly connect Iowa’s organic and sustainable farmers with consumers. Through adding another marketing mechanism for ordering and delivery, the Iowa Food Cooperative will “support and enhance the development of natural/organic foods.”

R.E.A.P. Food Group: $15,000
“Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch Phase 3: Regional Expansion” will enable the organization to begin reaching schools around in its state and bring real changes to the way schools feed children and educate them about food. This program brings delicious experiences with healthful, locally and sustainably grown foods to over 24,000 kids in south-central Wisconsin, and in doing so, has developed a model for regional farm-to-school community programs elsewhere.

See other articles from this issue: #138 September - October - 2008
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