Slow Food St. Louis has awarded approximately $67,000 to over 50 farmers since 2009 supporting the cultivation of hundreds of different heirloom varieties and heritage breeds. We are committed to allocating at least 25% of our funding to support producers selling in food deserts.
We are offering grant money to further support biodiversity in the St. Louis (and surrounding area) food system. We are now accepting grant applications for the 2016 growing season. Grant award amounts will be between the amounts of $200 to $1,000; however, the grant committee reserves the right to offer funding above these amounts.
Heirloom varieties are defined as a horticultural variety that has survived for several generations and is not used in large-scale agriculture. Many varieties are listed with the Slow Food Ark of Taste, Seed Savers and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Heritage breeds are traditional livestock breeds that date back several generations, before the drastic reduction of breed variety caused by the rise of industrial agriculture.
Grant Application Information
Please complete the application linked at the bottom of this page. Applicants will be selected annually and can only be selected to participate once per year. However, applicants who were awarded previous funding are eligible to apply again the following year. Selection priority will be given to applications that:
- Have clear identifiable goals supporting biodiversity.
- Cultivate varieties or breeds that are on the Ark of Taste OR will submit said varieties or breeds for entry into the Ark of Taste.
- Introduce a NEW product/variety into the St. Louis market that will be sold at a farmers market, CSA, grocer, or restaurant.
- Include the goal of creating a niche market for the farmer/producer (applicant).
- Will maintain these varieties and breeds using sustainable farming methods.
- Completed your grant review from 2015 (applies only to grant recipients from 2014; if you have not turned this in, we will still accept it with your application).
We welcome applications from current farmers, producers, individuals interested in getting into farming, those with experience with heirlooms and heritage breeds as well as those without. Applicants who have received grant funding from any source in excess of $15,000 in the past two years will be asked to fill out additional questions regarding budget and funding. In such cases we will consider prioritizing need for funding, food desert locations, serving lower income customers, creativity of project, etc.
All grant recipients will be expected to present their project experience and/or do a tasting event featuring the product at a Slow Food meeting if requested. Finally, we will require photos and an update including a report containing a summary of expenses, success of harvest, where products were sold, etc. We would like to feature each successful applicant in a Slow Spotlight blog post on our website.
While we will continue to accept applications throughout the year, our grant selection committee will make decisions on grant awards in early February, 2016. To be considered for 2016, please submit your application by January 31, 2016.