Community funds are an excellent way to pool resources and help people in need. Based on the concept of giving circles, and inspired by the activities at the Conway Locally Grown Market, the Arkansas Local Food Network recently began a Community Fund to help area growers find start-up money to get their operations up and running or to help grow new branches of already existing projects. From Ar Food Network: “Say a newbie farmer is in need of some tools, a local food pantry wants to put in some raised beds, or a community garden needs irrigation to grow more food. The Community Fund can help in any of these scenarios with a cash infusion.”
During this initial giving cycle one $1,000 microloan will be available for a farm or market garden and one $500 grant is available to to a community project to increase access to fresh, local food. Applications to apply for these funds can be found here.
According to the organization, “For 2012, a donor has pledged to match every dollar we raise, up to $2,000, for a total of $4,000 for farms, gardens, and local food projects. We’re halfway there! Please help us reach this goal by donating any amount. For even more information or to donate, contact us at ARLocalFoodNetwork@gmail.com.”
The Ar Local Food Network is a 501c3 nonprofit “dedicated to thriving and growing healthy farms, gardens, businesses, economy, and community.” If you live in the Little Rock area you can shop local via their two online markets here: littlerock.locallygrown.net and lrmidweek.locallygrown.net.
What are some of the community funds available where you live? What models are working and why? We’d love to hear about them!