Tuesday, May 5th is GivingTuesdayNow.
It's a global day of giving and unity in emergency reponse to the need due to COVID-19. We are bringing together our collective community in support of our most crucial initiatives, and tapping into the power of individual generosity to give back to the farmers who are feeding us.
Farmer veterans faced major challenges even before COVID-19: finding land, obtaining farming knowledge and training, acquiring start-up capital, and gaining recognition in the marketplace. Today, they are fighting for their livelihood – and their dreams of becoming a farmer.
While others are stuck inside, our farmer veterans are still out on their farms. While others are passing time, our farmer veterans are working tirelessly to feed their families, their neighbors, and their communities. We need our farmer veterans to keep us healthy through this crisis with the food they can provide for us. But farming also needs to be a livelihood, able to bring income to the family and create a sustainable business.
FVC’s carefully crafted programs offer tangible support for long-term success. We are committing considerable effort to raise additional funds to empower these budding farmers through the Fellowship Fund. As our best way to give the quickest, most tangible and most durable help to veterans, the Fellowship Fund is critical during this era of social distancing.
This year we received an unprecedented number of completed Fellowship applications – 453. As the group of agricultural professionals donate hundreds of hours from home to evaluate each applicant’s personal history and business plan, we are seeing just how many are deserving of our support.
We anticipate awarding the grants on June 1st. We will place the equipment in the hands of the farmer veterans in a matter of weeks after that, quickly putting these investments to work on their farms.
The more money we raise now, the more people we can help with an equipment purchase. For many recipients in past years, the grant single-handedly made the difference in the launch of their farming operation.
Smaller producers have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity now to increase their market and secure a future for themselves on the land.
While we are hopeful that new markets do open, the harsh reality is that a significant number of our farmer veterans will not survive to see that happen without the continued help from Farmer Veteran Coalition and our generous supporters.
We are so thankful for all of you who want to continue to support FVC’s mission year after year, and especially during this time. Give to the organizations that you love most – no amount is too little and nonprofits need our support.