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Foundation Offers Grants to Farmers Affected by Fires

Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund gives grants to organic business owners

Workers thin rows of lettuce on a farm in Watsonville. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

The California Certified Organic Farmers Foundation is poised to help organic farmers recover from the unprecedented wildfires burning across the West Coast, including CCOF’s hometown of Santa Cruz. 

The Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund gives grants to organic business owners affected by hardships of all kinds, including wildfires, natural disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since 2007, the CCOF Foundation has distributed $210,000 to farmers, but this challenging year has already resulted in a four-fold increase in applications for financial assistance. It is yet to be seen how the fires will further increase applications to the fund, but organic supporters can help meet this increased need by making donations to the Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund. All donations to the fund go directly to organic farmers and business owners.

“California’s Central Coast is one of our most robust areas of organic producers, including many of the farmers who founded CCOF. And as the leading state in organic production, we expect to see many organic farmers across California who will need support to rebuild,” said CCOF CEO Kelly Damewood in a press release. “We have already received a record number of applications to the Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund this year as a result of Covid-19, and we expect to be inundated with more requests for help as a result of the fires.”

Earlier this year, CCOF chapters—made up of CCOF-certified organic business owners—contributed some of their own chapter resources to the Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund in order to reach even more farmers in this year of great need. 

“People often overlook organic farmers during times of crisis, and we don’t have the same resources and support programs as other farmers,” said CCOF Board of Directors Chair and organic farmer and winemaker Phil LaRocca in a press release. Every penny of assistance makes a difference for farmers hit by disaster. We are already operating on such tight margins to produce healthy food, sometimes we need a little help to make it through the hard times and keep our communities going.”

The next grant application cycle ends Nov. 20.

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