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In 2012, we established a scholarship to assist beginning farmers to create a successful business. This project was established in honor of Marcia and Al Silver, supporters of Slow Food, farmers markets, and growers of all ages. Recently, we expanded both the amount of the award and eligibility criteria.
The new “Local Farmer Project” is an annual financial award of $500 with an additional $500 interest-free loan (to be repaid two years after the award date). Eligible grantees are farmers or ranchers in Sonoma County who need financial assistance to take them to the next step of their business–education/conferences, farm equipment, farm infrastructure, or farm marketing services. Each grant recipient is given a one-year membership to Slow Food USA.
The Local Farmer Project team is Yael Bernier (Bernier Farms), Bill Hawn, Lisa Hunter, and Kelly Osman (Oz Family Farms). Kelly was the first recipient of the Beginning Farmer scholarship. Funds for the grant will be raised through donations and an annual farm-to-table dinner.
Grant applications will be announced later in the year, and will consist of a written application and interviews by the project team.
Astrid is here! Our Slow Food intern, Astrid Panizza, is a master’s student in the Local Development Program of the University of Padua, Italy. She is here through June to research the Bodega Red Potato and Gravenstein Apple for her master’s thesis. She has already helped to plant Bodega Reds for our chapter garden, and has begun to interview farmers who are growing the potatoes. She will work with the Gravenstein Apple Presidium in West County as well.
Sonoma County North was founded in 1997, the first of five Slow Food chapters in Sonoma County. We believe that food is a common language and universal right, and envision a world in which all people can eat food that is good: for them, for the people who grow it, and for the planet.
Our mission is to reconnect those in our community with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils, and waters that produce our food. We work to inspire a transformation in food policy, production practices, and market forces so that they ensure equity, sustainability, and pleasure in the food we eat.