The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation recently announced a $250,000 grant for The Conservation Fund’s Georgia Working Farms Fund program (Farms Fund) – the first and only program in the U.S. to offer end-to-end support for next-generation farmers, including a path to farm ownership and access to established markets to sell their products.
The grant provides funding that allows the Farms Fund to continue operations in Georgia for the next two years. This will create affordable farm ownership opportunities for farmers who otherwise would not have the means to purchase land at full-market price, while helping to build a healthier, more equitable and resilient food system starting in metro Atlanta.
“This award from the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation is a catalytic investment in the Georgia Working Farms Fund program and small businesses in our rural communities,” said Stacy Funderburke, Georgia and Alabama associate state director for The Conservation Fund, which provides support for the Farms Fund in collaboration with Emory University. “This support will allow The Conservation Fund to scale this critical program to help Georgia build a resilient local food system by ensuring that diverse, entrepreneurial farmers have access to farmland and new markets to grow their farm businesses now and into the future.”
Initially working in the 29-county metro Atlanta region, the program permanently protects at-risk farmland and creates opportunities for ambitious, diverse farmers to scale up local food production. Through conservation easements and lease-to-own options, participating farmers will benefit from the eventual ownership of their own farms with developed markets where they can sell their products. The program also aims to strengthen connections between farmers, markets and consumers, while increasing the supply of locally grown and nutritious food, thus improving the environment and health for Georgia residents.
The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation’s grant to the Farms Fund is part of the organization’s efforts to pave the way for a tech-forward future in Georgia and represents the ongoing commitment of the Partnership and its board of advisors, including Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, to foster access, growth, entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the state.
“The Georgia Working Farms Fund represents an innovative and transformative approach to how we think about the agricultural industry and food security in Georgia,” Duncan said. “Together, the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation and the Georgia Working Farms Fund are helping to advance local businesses and create thriving communities across our state.”
The Partnership board voted to support this program over the next two years at its late April meeting. The board also welcomed Georgia Power President Chris Womack to the board of advisors. He will provide strategic guidance and perspective as the Partnership continues advancing innovation, opportunity and shared economic success throughout Georgia.
“At Georgia Power, we strongly support bringing the latest in technology, research and development to all parts of our great state,” Womack said. “We are always looking to provide our customers with the most affordable and innovative options that will foster growth and prosperity in their communities. Being a part of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation is one way we can connect and work with like-minded businesses and leaders to help do that, and to establish Georgia not only as a leading technology hub, but as an intentionally inclusive one.”
This is a press release.