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11 farms received Cultivating Change grants
11 farms received Cultivating Change grants

The winning operations will split $75,000 in funding

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter
Farms.com

A national produce distributor has revealed its grant recipients.

More than 100 farmers from across 30 U.S. states applied to be part of PRO*ACT’s Cultivating Change contest and split $75,000 in grants. (PRO*ACT is a fresh food supply chain management network.)

Farmers were encouraged to apply to the contest and outline what they would do with the funds.

And 11 farms across seven states have been announced as funding recipients, with an operation in Mississippi receiving the largest grant.

Choctaw Fresh Produce in Philadelphia, Miss. is a five-year-old, three-acre organic farm located on the Choctaw Indian Reservation. The farm produces tomatoes, lettuce, collard greens and other vegetables.

But the soils on the tribal land aren’t very healthy, so the farmers will use their $20,000 grant to help ensure better yields, said John Hendrix, general manager of Choctaw Fresh Produce.

“Good soils are crucial to organic production and quality production,” he told Farms.com today. “We’re going to use the funds to install permanent raised beds that will increase our quality and our production so we can expand our sales and be more successful.”

And a farm in Arizona will use its $10,000 grant to install and implement traceability tools and processes in its operation.

Merchant’s Garden in Tucson, Ariz., is a 10,000-square-foot greenhouse operation located on the football field of a vacant school.

The farm produces about 500,000 heads of lettuce each year. And Chaz Shelton, founder and CEO of Merchant’s Garden, views transparency as a crucial part of agriculture.

“The value of our products is only as good as our ability to share that information with our customers and consumers,” he told Farms.com today. “We believe deeply that customers have a right to know where their food comes from and what went into producing that food.”

The other winners are:

PPC Farms
The Mission, TX., farm will use its $10,000 grant to implement the use of floating covers in organic brassica and cucurbit production.

PL88 Farm
The farm in Prentiss, Miss., received $10,000 to purchase a truck for transportation and a shed for watermelon and vegetables.

Reeves Family Farm
The family operation from Princeton, TX., will put $6,000 towards the purchase of a new refrigerated delivery truck.

Arizona Microgreens
The farm from Phoenix, Ariz., will put its $5,000 grant to use in optimizing its germination process.

East Texas Aquaponics
The operation from Mineola, TX., received $5,000 to improve food safety in aquaponics.

Costa Farm & Greenhouse
The farmers from White Bear Lake, Minn., will use their $5,000 grant to streamline their packing facility with new storage and a maintenance building.

City Roots
The farm in Columbia, S.C., received a $3,000 grant to help farmers feed families.

Lone Tree Foods
The Crete, Neb. operation will use $1,000 to purchase a larger truck to meet the needs of its expanding local food network.

Long and Scott Farms
The farm in Mount Dora, Fla, will invest its $1,000 grant into sustainability practices.