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Since being founded in 2000, the Community Food Co-op has dedicated a portion of its annual donation budget to the Farm Fund, a dedicated effort to support and strengthen the local farming community.

community food co-op
The 2016 Farmer Award winners were recognized by Community Food Co-op. Pictured (from left):
Innovator Farm: Susan and Harley Soltes, Bow Hill Blueberries, Mentor Farmer: Mike and Kimberly Finger, Cedarville Farm, and New Farmer: Anna and Jared Danilson, Slanted Sun Farm. Photo courtesy: Community Food Co-op.

Working to provide continued access to fresh produce for our community residents as well as giving local farms the opportunity to grow and have a sustainable business, the Farm Fund is supported entirely by donations from the Community Food Co-op and the local community with support from the Whatcom Community Foundation.

The Farm Fund focuses on increasing the supply of local sustainable and organic food by supporting and establishing projects related to local food and farming.

In fact, a couple of the many successes of the Farm Fund include founding the Food to Bank On program, which provides training, markets, and mentorship to new farmers who are paid to deliver fresh food to food banks. The Farm Fund also sponsored Whatcom County’s first organic seed-saving workshops in collaboration with the Organic Seed Alliance and funded a seed growing workshop.

These are just a few of the many opportunities, through grants and loans, that the Farm Fund has provided to local growers and farmers in a continued effort to increase accessibility to locally grown food.

community food co-op
Karl Prisk (left), Zack Tyler, and Tarquin, Zack’s trusty Australian Shepherd, take a break from tending their free-range turkey flock at Brittle Barn Farms in Ferndale. The farm prides itself in buying local and used a Farm Fund loan to purchase organic, Non-GMO Project Verified feed from Bellingham’s Scratch & Peck Feeds for their poultry flock. Photo courtesy: Community Food Co-op.

Guided by a volunteer advisory committee composed of local farmers, food and farming advocacy groups, and Co-op member-owners, the original goal of supporting local sustainable agriculture continues with the Farm Fund Committee directly funding approved projects through grants and loans.

Through Farm Fund grants and loans, local farmers have implemented creative new solutions and tried new ways of growing and farming that support local organizations such as the Bellingham Food Bank.

Co-op member-owners have supported the Farm Fund on a steadily increasing basis by donating at any register in the stores.

As a community member, everyone can contribute to growing our local agriculture by buying locally grown products and donating to the Farm Fund.

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