Funds will support refugee and under-resourced communities to grow food and improve food handling and safety practices
DULUTH, Ga.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF), a private foundation with the vision to prevent and relieve hunger through sustainable agricultural development, today announced a USD 50,000 grant 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.
PFC is a non-profit that supports refugee, immigrant, Black and low-income farmers in Western New York who cannot otherwise access farmland. The organization started in 2017 as a grassroots effort by the Somali Bantu community to return to their agricultural heritage and grow fresh, culturally relevant produce. PFC has now grown to encompass refugees and immigrants from multiple nations and members of the Black community.
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.
AGCO (NYSE:AGCO) is a global leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of agricultural machinery and precision ag technology. AGCO delivers customer value through its differentiated brand portfolio including core brands like Challenger®, Fendt®, GSI®, Massey Ferguson®, Precision Planting® and Valtra®. Powered by Fuse® smart farming solutions, AGCO’s full line of equipment and services help farmers sustainably feed our world. Founded in 1990 and headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, USA, AGCO had net sales of approximately $12.7 billion in 2022. For more information, visit www.AGCOcorp.com. For company news, information and events, please follow us on Twitter: @AGCOCorp. For financial news on Twitter, please follow the hashtag #AGCOIR.
About the AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF)
The AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF), initiated by AGCO Corporation (NYSE: AGCO) in 2018, is a private foundation with the vision to prevent and relieve hunger. The foundation initiates impactful programs that support food security, foster sustainable agricultural development and build needed agricultural infrastructure in marginalized farming communities. AAF is domiciled in Vaduz, Liechtenstein and operations are managed from Duluth, Georgia, USA. For more information, please visit https://www.agcofoundation.org/
About Providence Farm Collective (PFC)
Providence Farm Collective is a non-profit that believes in empowering Just and Equitable Access to Food and Farmland. It cultivates farmer-led and community-rooted agriculture and food systems to actualize the rights of under-resourced peoples. PFC has its roots in the Somali Bantu Community Farm, a three-year pilot project. The pilot explored the challenges and opportunities of addressing fresh food insecurity and farmland inequity. PFC supports under-resourced farmers in Western New York needing access to clean, rural farmland, farming and business education, technical assistance, access to markets and the opportunity to farm for income. For more information, visit www.providencefarmcollective.org
Aryn Drawdy, Corporate Communications Director
Kristin Heltman-Weiss, Executive Director