Working Lands Grants will Assist VT Ag businesses with COVID-19 planning and response
Approximately 20% of Vermont’s working landscape is used for agricultural purposes, and 75% is forested. Vermont prospers with its unique sense of place in part its working lands people and enterprises that comprise its farm, food, and forest-based systems. The WLEB board believes strategic investments and strong community engagement in support of the farm and forest sectors leads to enhanced quality of life for Vermont citizens and working lands business owners.
KEY DATES AND DEADLINES –
Request for Applications Release: May 15, 2020
Application Opens for Submission: May 21, 2020
Application Deadline: May 31, 2020 at 11:59 PM (application closes at midnight)
Award Notification: June 15, 2020
Estimated Project Start: June 25, 2020
AWARD RANGE AND MATCH REQUIREMENT –
Grants will be awarded within the range of $5,000 to $25,000. Match is not a requirement for this particular funding opportunity, though match of cash or in-kind is encouraged, and applications with match will be more competitive.
ELIGIBLE PROJECTS –
Applying organizations must have experienced, and be able to clearly demonstrate, negative business impacts due to COVID-19. Eligible proposals will focus on business response, shifting marketing strategies, or other activities that may improve business recovery. Project activities eligible for funding include:
- Market development: developing marketing plans and/or sales strategies, accessing new markets and securing new customers, brand development including website design or upgrades, institutional and wholesale market expansion, costs associated with achieving humane and/or organic certification
- Value-added production: transitioning to operation as a new processor or expansion as an existing processor; transitioning to new pack-size/labeling or enhancing production and/or manufacturing efficiencies
- Research and development: testing new systems or technologies; developing innovative solutions to production or management issues including accounting, tracking, and/or sales software, (e.g., E-Commerce, Home Delivery or Curbside Pick-up)
- Operations logistics: workplace modifications to meet worker safety protocols regulations for working lands enterprises compliance, addressing labor force and public health in response to the pandemic
- Growth strategy: new or expansion of current efforts, expanding consumer outreach and/or expansion of existing marketing strategy, established multi-year marketing plan and growth strategy of the industry represented, with intent to sell goods out of Vermont.