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Daily Harvest Announces Grants to Underserved Farmers

Daily Harvest Announces Grants to Underserved Farmers


Supporting sustainable farming practices

On October 6, Daily Harvest, in partnership with American Farmland Trust (AFT) and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), announced a first round of grants to historically underserved farmers in California’s Central Valley and Central Coast.

The $10,000 grants are part of a multi-year partnership to give underrepresented farmers the financial and technical support they need to scale their businesses and advance their sustainable farming practices.

California is at the center of American agriculture

Nearly half of America’s fruits, vegetables and nuts are grown in California—a state hit hard by the climate crisis (which has resulted in fires and ever-worsening droughts).

Organic and regenerative farming practices are key to building more resilient farms and protecting the health of farm workers, their families and consumers. But these practices can be prohibitively costly and time-consuming—especially for historically underserved farmers in the region.

Not all farmers have equal access to resources

These marginalized farming communities lack access to the same resources as their peers on account of their race and/or gender. About 95% of American farmers are white and the “average” California farmer is a white male in his sixties.

Meanwhile, 12% of California farmers and 97% of farmworkers in California are Latino, yet only 3.7% own farms (cited data from 2017). And just 30% of California farm workers are women.

Pause and take that in.

Helping to make agriculture more equitable

To help close the gap, Daily Harvest, AFT, and CCOF are offering grants to 12 underserved farmers. They’ll receive up to $10K per year, technical training, and the opportunity to join Daily Harvest’s network of growers.

(A special thanks to the organizations who helped kickstart the grant program, such as Rustic Canyon Family of Restaurants.)

Meet this year’s grantees

This year’s 12 grantees all identify as Latino. 50% are women. They each grow berries, vegetables, and greens on 50 acres of farmland or less:

  • Elda Marissa Garcia, Royally Grown Organic Farm
  • Yadira Mendiola, The Queen of Vegetables Organic
  • Martin Avina Hernandez, Avina Organic Farms
  • Maria Narez, Narez Organic Vegetables
  • Domitila Tapia, Mimi’s Organic Farm
  • Antonia Vega, Dulce Farms
  • Maria Romero, Ambrosio Organic Farm
  • Alejandro Salazar, Salazar Organic Farms
  • Carlos Gonzalez, Torres Organic Farms
  • Misael Morales, Chelito Organic Farms
  • Israel Martinez, Martinez Organic Farm
  • Raul Murillo, El Zenzontle Organic Farms
    Domitila Tapia, california farmerMisael Moralas, california farmer

    Domitila Tapia and Misael Moralas

    Putting the grants to work

    The grantees plan to put the money towards expanding their organic acreage, implementing soil health practices (like composting and cover crops), and scaling their businesses.

    “I fell in love with organic,” said Misael Morales, whose health was directly impacted by the synthetic pesticides sprayed at past farming jobs. He’s since started his own organic farm. “It's very difficult, but it gets better because I believe in it.” Misael, who is originally from Mexico, also said he struggles with regulatory hurdles: “The United States is very different, especially when you want to have the organic certificate…you need to train and be constantly educated.”

    Maria Naraz, california farmerAlejandro Salazar, california farmer

    Maria Naraz and Alejandro Salazar

    Maria Narez, who farms organic mixed vegetables and greens, shared that scaling acreage and buying her own equipment has been too expensive in the past. “The most difficult thing for me right now would be financially my ability to expand.”

    Domitila Tapia said she’s proud to use organic practices: “It’s better for us in the field cultivating so we’re not absorbing those chemicals, and especially for those of us eating the produce. This funding really helps us because it takes a lot of money for all we do …and we have a lot of payments to make.”

    What’s next?

    Next up: Daily Harvest, AFT, and CCOF will host the first of a multi-year series of community events and mentorship programs in Santa Maria, California. We’ll provide technical support for additional farmers who want to expand their operations and learn more about organic and regenerative farming practices.

    That said, if you or someone you know are interested in joining a technical assistance program, please contact dnaresparedes@farmland.org.

    We’ll also begin to accept 2024 grant applications soon. Details on how to apply will be shared on CCOF’s Education & Grants page.