Coalition for Organic and Regenerative Agriculture
WA Farming & Agriculture

Washington State Organic & Sustainable Farming Fund

Every year, Tilth Alliance provides grants to farmers seeking financial assistance to support projects that improve the economic viability, social impacts or environmental sustainability of their farm businesses.

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Tilth Alliance is accepting applications from farmers who seek financial assistance in support of projects that improve the economic viability, social impact, or environmental sustainability of their farm businesses and community. The goal of this grant program is to support organic and regenerative agricultural practices and mitigate climate change; projects that further these objectives, will be considered for an award.

Funding Levels and Term

Grant requests can be made up to $10,000. Proposals should have objectives that are realistically achievable in a 9-month period (April-December). The total granted amount must be spent by December 31st, 2023. The amount granted (whether in part or in full) will depend on applicant pool needs. Multi-year projects or those exceeding the maximum allowed request will not be funded. We recognize the importance of multi-year projects but cannot guarantee funding for projects beyond a single year.

Eligibility

Below are the eligibility requirements. Note that an individual farm business is not eligible to receive more than $20,000 over a five-year period. This grant program is open to all Washington State farmers who:

  • Currently employ or are adopting practices that follow regenerative, sustainable, and/or organic principles (this includes conventional farms that are transitioning into organic, sustainable, or regenerative production).
  • Have been in business for at least two years.
  • Are seeking to improve and/or expand their operation, improve environmental impacts, or become a more sustainable business.
  • Previous grantees are eligible to apply but priority will be given to new applicants.

Funding Priorities

  • Projects that enhance and measure carbon sequestration, restore soil health, utilize cover crops, preserve and create habitats, increase biodiversity, and employ environmentally safe waste management practices.
  • Projects that involve resource sharing (i.e. Will more than one farm benefit from the project? Can the research, knowledge, and resources acquired through the grant be shared with others?)
  • Conventional farmers who want to transition to organic, sustainable, or regenerative practices.
  • Projects led by or emphasize working with women, BIPOC, veterans, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Funded Topics

Not all funded projects need to meet funding priorities, but all projects should improve a farm’s environmental, social, and economic impacts via strategies which create new revenue streams, improve quality of life and operations, or increase sustainability. Download a list of previously funded projects here, and review example topics below (not an exhaustive list):

Topics likely to receive consideration:

  • Composting, soil control, erosion prevention, permaculture practices
  • Conserving and restoring natural habitats, protection of native pollinators
  • Production and/or use of renewable energy
  • Integrated Pest Management planning
  • Organic farming practices and certification
  • No till or minimal tilling planning
  • On farm seed saving and regional resiliency

Topics not likely to receive consideration:

  • Tractor purchase
  • Refrigeration projects*
  • High tunnels*
  • General operating funds / farm staff labor

*Unless accompanied by a robust justification and explanation of its sustainability, including renewable energy or recycling plan, as appropriate.

Proposal and Review Criteria

In order to evaluate grant proposals fairly, all submissions should follow the instructions listed below. Proposals that exceed the word limit, or otherwise do not meet requirements, will not be considered for funding. The successful application will provide a clear rationale for the project and demonstrate a significant need for the proposed project. Demonstrate why your project is necessary, present measurable outcomes and impacts, and explain specifically what you hope to accomplish with the funds. Please note that proposals that include multiple projects will not be considered.

The primary audience for your proposal is the grant review committee. This group is composed of Tilth Alliance staff members, farmers, and other agricultural professionals, with a wide range of expertise. All reviewers will score applications individually, and then come together for group discussions. The scoring will be used as a tool for discussion, but not the primary means of decision-making. Projects will be scored in the following categories:

  • Environmental Sustainability Impact – Does the proposed project have the potential to significantly improve the environmental sustainability of the farm and/or community?
  • Farm Business Impact – Will the proposed project significantly contribute to the success and livelihood of the farm business?
  • Community Impact – Will the proposed project contribute to community well-being?
  • Justification – Is the budget reasonable and well-justified? Is the proposed project feasible given the time period and resources?

Application Instructions

  1. Complete the grant application form, which is a single document containing both a cover sheet and narrative description components. 
  2. Obtain two letters of support from agricultural peers, mentors, educators, or community organizations, to be submitted with your application as a single document. Letters should directly reference the applicant’s name and farm name. 
  3. Submit completed application, including the grant application form and the two letters of support, as a single document by email or mail to the addresses listed below. Failure to submit application as a single document (Word, PDF, or by mail) could result in disqualification of your application. An email will be sent within 3 business days of your submission to confirm receipt of application. If you do not receive this email, please email terirakusin@tilthalliance.org.

Free sites that can help with merging multiple documents into a single document:

  • SmallPDF.com – can convert Word to PDF and also merge PDFs into one document. Limit to 2 uses per day.
  • ilovePDF.com – can convert Word to PDF and also merge PDFs into one document. Limit to 5 uses per day.

Apply via Email

Email application to applications@tilthalliance.org

  • Send proposal as a single Word of PDF attachment
  • We will not accept proposals submitted in the body of an email
  • Failure to submit proposal as a single document could disqualify proposal
  • Use the subject line “WSOSFF Grant Proposal”

Apply via Mail

Mail application materials to:
Tilth Alliance
Attn: Grant Applications – Farm Program
4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Suite 100
Seattle, WA 98103

Applications must be postmarked or received electronically no later than February 19, 2023.

Support Documents:

Review Process

Proposals will be evaluated and award recommendations made by the grant review committee. The committee reserves the right to seek outside technical expertise as necessary. Decisions made by the committee are final.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposals:

  • Deliverables that will foster improvement of social, environmental, and/or economic sustainability of the operation, overall operational viability, and/or the application of sustainable or organic farming practices.
  • Identifiable and measurable outcomes specified.
  • Budget is well-justified and details project expenses. Matching funds or in-kind contributions to the project (if any) have been secured, or have been applied for.
  • Proposal presents a realistic timeline for each of the project’s objectives.

If Your Project is Funded

Applicants will be notified of award by March 22, 2023. Awarded funds will be transferred to the grantee after the grantee signs an award agreement and submits a W-9 form. Funds are expected to be distributed by April 5, 2023.

Final Reporting Requirements

Unless other arrangements have been made, grant recipients are required to provide a project final report by March 15, 2024. Evaluation involves analyzing whether the original project objectives were met.

The specific format for reports will be shared with grant recipients in December 2023. In general, however, preparation of a final report should require no more than two hours, and the report should include the following:

  • Details on how funds were spent as well as actual cost of the project vs. original budget in the form of a formal expenditure verification.
  • Project challenges and successes from the recipient’s perspective.
  • Completed questionnaire, narrative about how the grant has furthered your operation and general bio of farm.

Questions?

For more information, contact Teri Rakusin.

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