Delaware farmers receive Future Harvest grants

Delaware News Desk

Farmers in Delaware; Maryland; Washington, D.C.; Virginia; and West Virginia received Future Harvest grant funding to support food bank donations and aid in pandemic relief.

In Delaware, grants were awarded to Melody Muhammad of Symond Gardens in Claymont, and Matthew Williams of Conscious Connections Inc. in Wilmington. 

Muhammad’s Symond Gardens will use the grant to provide different vegetables and their nutritional value and partner with the local colleges and farmers for fruits in season to provide fresh food locally, especially during this time of the pandemic.

Conscious Connections, through its grant, with purchase an electric motorized mountain bike to expand its farm to consumer model to reach a broader audience, which includes two local senior centers and a group home, and expand home delivery service from a two-block radius, serving 15-20 families to a 15-block radius with the potential to serve at least 200 families.

Future Harvest Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture announced Aug. 7 the 22 grant awardees of the Feed the Need campaign, which raised more than $40,000 for the farming community in the Chesapeake region to address food access in its communities. Future Harvest also selected 14 Black, Indigenous and other farmers of color out of the 22 grantees, as part of its commitment to racial equity.

The review committee, composed of Future Harvest board members, staff and farmers, selected this first round of grant awardees from a pool of 102 applicants with funding requests totaling more than $300,000.

The Feed the Need Fund was created to help farmers weather market changes caused by the pandemic and provide food access in various ways. Through individual donors, funds awarded from the Mid-Atlantic Food Resilience & Access Coalition and the Greater Washington Community Foundation and regionwide partner support, grantees will receive mini-grants ranging from $500 to $3,000. With these funds, grantees will provide such activities as sliding scales on Community Supported Agriculture orders, conduct home deliveries and donate produce to local food banks and pantries.

“We are so excited to be able to support our farming community with some financial assistance, as they adjust to the new normal of doing business during the pandemic,” said Future Harvest Executive Director Dena Leibman. “Through this effort, we were also able to address food scarcity in our communities while facilitating and strengthening relationships between our local producers and our local food banks and other organizations serving families. This is a win-win for everyone. It is our hope, however, to be able to continue to meet the growing needs of our farmers, by obtaining additional funds to award more mini-grants to our other applicants whose projects would benefit so many individuals and families in need.”

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