AGCO awards $50,000 grant to Providence

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The AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF), a private foundation with the vision to prevent and relieve hunger through sustainable agricultural development, grants USD 50,000 to Providence Farm Collective (PFC) to support implementation of a holistic on-farm compost generation system and optimization of post-harvest efficiency and food safety at its 37-acre farm in Orchard Park, NY, USA.

“Refugees and immigrant communities can often lack socioeconomic opportunities. Supporting agricultural activities such as the PFC project can help refugees not only secure access to farmland, but also create avenues for them to produce food and improve their livelihoods”

PFC’s existing programs provide a place for refugee and under-resourced communities to grow their own food, earn supplemental income and teach cultural farming traditions to future generations. This project will help increase food production and boost income for PFC’s diverse farmers by improving sustainable agricultural practices and soil fertility via on-site generation of well-balanced compost. In addition, the project will facilitate capacity building and support efforts on postharvest and food safety practices for the farmers.

“Refugees and immigrant communities can often lack socioeconomic opportunities. Supporting agricultural activities such as the PFC project can help refugees not only secure access to farmland, but also create avenues for them to produce food and improve their livelihoods,” said Roger Batkin, Board Chair, AGCO Agriculture Foundation. “Farmers and their communities are crucial to our foundation’s efforts toward preventing and relieving hunger. It is our hope that participating farmers will also improve their food safety practices and strengthen their market opportunities.”

To achieve the one-year goals set for the project, PFC will manage a compost operation, including a stand of nitrogen-rich cover crops, and provide one-on-one technical assistance and hands-on demonstration. The nonprofit will also develop visual aids and signage for its farmers to enhance their knowledge of best practices and standard operating procedures for efficient and food-safe post-harvest handling.

With funding support from AAF, PFC will purchase the necessary equipment to generate on-site compost, including a flail harvester, dump trailer, litter and compost spreader, and cover crop seed, plus invest in compost analysis testing. Applying compost will increase soil organic matter and improve soil moisture retention, sustainably boosting farmer yields and soil health. During the project, PFC will work with its nine communities of refugee, immigrant, and Black farmers, who total 275 farmers and operate 21 small farms.

“Through the support from AAF, we will focus on increasing soil organic matter and improving soil moisture retention to ensure the yields of our farmers reflect the tremendous amount of time and effort they spend on their farms. Farmers also spend most of their time in harvest and post-harvest. As such, honing post-harvest and food safety practices will have a crucial impact on the bottom lines of PFC farmers and the financial viability of their small businesses,” said Kristin Heltman-Weiss, Executive Director of PFC.

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