Who is your ideal candidate for receiving funds?
It is the intention of the Washtenaw County Black Farmers Fund (WCBFF) to rebuild intergenerational farmland ownership for Black farmers in the city of Washtenaw County, and applicants should share that mission. The premise of the fund is to support Black farmers in and around Washtenaw County. In light of this mission, our highest consideration will be given to applicants who are current Washtenaw County residents, exhibit farming and gardening acumen and/or training, have already attempted to purchase the land, and are able to contribute some payment. Applicants who are intending to purchase land on residential property that the Washtenaw County Black Farmers Fund (WCBFF) will release, will receive additional consideration.
Why does this fund only support Black farmers?
Black farmers face increased barriers to land ownership due to historical inequity. We see this in our day-to-day interactions with Black growers who are unable to purchase the property they are growing on. This is land where Black farmers and gardeners grow produce to serve neighbors, families, and the community as a whole. Oftentimes, the funding to buy the land is the only barrier.
Do I have to currently be farming or gardening to apply?
No, but if you are not, please be prepared to submit your vision and plan for your future farm. Please be specific and detailed about why you want to farm/garden, how you plan to farm/garden the land, who will be helping/supporting you, and whom your agricultural goods will help and support.
What is considered farming or gardening training?
As stewards of the WCBFF, we want to know that those we are considering are both serious about farming and gardening their land and about doing so successfully. Therefore, we expect that everyone who applies has some sort of farming or gardening knowledge, and we would like to know where yours comes from. Whether you are a “homegrown” or self-taught grower, a legacy farmer that was taught by your family, a former or current farming/garden apprentice, a training program or college graduate, a farmworker, etc., we have a broad vision of what training means and welcome any information that you share about how you have or plan to become a farmer/gardener.
Will my personal information be shared?
All information will be kept confidential by members of the WCBFF committee. We support local, Black farmers growing food or other agricultural goods to support their communities. The WCBFF is an effort in part to ensure that this practice can continue without government intervention via land ownership. To that end, WCBFF will work with landowners and legal partners to get information about the standing of property you want to own. Any personal information beyond this will only be shared with your express, written consent, and your knowledge.
Do I need to be a formalized business owner or an organization to apply?
No, you do not need to be a formal business or organization.
Does it matter what I produce on my farm?
WCBFF will consider each project and its potential impact on the surrounding community. Please share as much you can about your mission and vision so that we can make this determination. All projects are encouraged to apply.
Will there be any reporting required?
Yes, all grant recipients will be asked for a simple report at the end of the calendar year, telling us how they used the funds. These reports will be used to support future fundraising efforts.