Environmental Non-Profit Kiss the Ground Awards $135,400 in Farmer & Rancher Grants

Seven distinct projects will help a diverse array of farmers and ranchers grow their regenerative agriculture practices improving soil health, water quality, human health, and local communities

Cuyama Lamb

California
California

Organic Compound

Minnesota
Minnesota

Los Angeles, CA, Feb. 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kiss the Ground directly supports farmers and ranchers scaling their regenerative systems by awarding $135,400 in grants for seven on-the-ground projects across California and Minnesota. The Kiss the Ground Regenerating Communities Grant was designed to build and support new and existing communities of regenerative farmers to enhance grower connectivity; foster information, resource, and equipment sharing; and contribute to the broader food system across California and the Midwest. 

Kiss the Ground aims to support farmers actively participating in regeneration of their local foodsheds, creatively identifying ways to address climate extremes, biodiversity loss, food security, and other resource concerns. Regenerative agriculture is one of the greatest opportunities for reversing and adapting to the effects of climate change and has the added potential of increasing soil fertility, replenishing fresh water supplies, and improving human health. While regenerative agriculture is context-specific, including many different practices and approaches,  the principles remain universal.

Many practices included in regenerative farming (e.g., cover cropping, rotational grazing, reduced tillage) have been proven to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by sequestering it in the soil in the form of organic matter. Organic matter can be built through things like increased photosynthesis and reduced disturbance or by adding inputs like compost and livestock integration. In addition, the regenerative principle of building and maintaining living soils activates the biology to help cycle nutrients and make them more available for the crop, reducing (and in some cases removing) the need for synthetic inputs. 

“Regenerative farming isn’t just about improving the land and sequestering carbon; it’s also about improving the community where the farm lies. By creating a farm stand in Loleta, not only will people have access to fresh food that previously didn’t exist, but they will also have a place to gather, learn, build relationships, and be surrounded by natural beauty. To be integrated into the community, not just operating parallel to it, we will seek comments and suggestions from community members so they can help create the space they want to see.” 

– Hannah Eisloeffel, Table Bluff Farm

 Through their ongoing conversations with farmers, Kiss the Ground recognized a critical gap in grant funding with government programs. They need financial support for infrastructure, equipment, training, and supplies to reduce barriers and risks in their transition to regenerative agriculture. While grants like the CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program provide financial assistance for soil management practices such as cover cropping, no-till, reduced-till, mulching, compost application, and conservation plantings, they do not cover the cost of the equipment, processing, and infrastructure needed to scale regenerative land management successfully. Our grant program seeks to fill that gap.

“Small farm and ranch owners see the undeniable financial, health, and community benefits of regenerative practices; however, they also encounter huge barriers in returning to these traditional farming methods. While we all await the ‘23 Farm Bill to shift meaningful resources to aid with a seismic shift across the country to this end, we are grateful for the early supporters of the regenerative movement and take tremendous pride in awarding these grants.”

– Evan Harrison, CEO of Kiss the Ground

Farmers and ranchers are the last remaining stewards of the land. Through their everyday work, they have the potential to build healthy soils, restore the water cycle, reduce the impacts of climate change, provide food security, protect biodiversity, and achieve the many other cascading benefits that come with regenerating agricultural landscapes and communities. 

“Modern industrial agriculture has led to declining rural communities and agricultural lifestyles. We believe that small farms and agriculturally engaged communities are a part of what makes this concept of regenerative agriculture so appealing. This more holistic and indigenous approach to farming and community living is a part of the solution to a healthier planet.” 

– Wil Crombie, Organic Compound

Farmers and Ranchers receiving grants included:

  • Cuyama Lamb – $44,000
  • Avenue 33 Farm – $10,000
  • McGrath Family Farmers – $10,000
  • Table Bluff Farm – $12,500
  • Organic Compound – $30,000
  • Gaviota Givings – $10,200
  • Yisrael Family Farm – $18,700

Priority was given to projects that support community development and build capacity for regenerative agriculture in a specific region. This includes, but is not limited to: forming a cooperative, purchasing new equipment, covering operating costs, building new infrastructure, and facilitating training (e.g., field day or workshop). A common throughline for each project is to provide a positive and lasting impact on the community beyond the life of the grant. 

“Community support is key to successful operations because agricultural operators must provide goods and services, and the community utilizes these. In addition, education is key to inspiring the next generation.” 

– Guner Tautrim, Gaviota Givings

Kiss the Ground brings awareness to regeneration through its storytelling, education, and advocacy of regenerative agriculture and soil health. The organization has already trained and inspired 260 farmers and ranchers in the principles and practices of regenerative land management. The Kiss the Ground Regenerating Communities Grant seeks to empower farmers as leaders in their communities while building upon the groundwork they have already established in building healthy soils, reducing the impacts of climate change, and strengthening their local foodsheds. 

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ABOUT KISS THE GROUND

Kiss the Ground is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on a mission to awaken people to the possibilities of regeneration and inspire participation in this movement through storytelling, education, and advocacy. Since being established in 2013 to create societal awareness around the extraordinary potential of healthy soil, Kiss the Ground has educated and activated tens of millions worldwide.

Attachments

  • Cuyama Lamb
  • Organic Compound
CONTACT: Nathan Rice Kiss The Ground [email protected] 

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