This is the third installment in a blog series featuring the ten recipients of our 2023 Muck Boot Chapter Capacity Grant program. Through this year’s grant program, the chapters received fundraising training and support to help them build long-term financial sustainability.
The Hoosier Young Farmer Coalition is a Young Farmers chapter based in Indiana, founded in 2016 by a group of farmers seeking to connect with other beginning farmers in the state. The Hoosier chapter was one of ten to receive the Muck Boot Chapter Capacity Grant in 2023. We spoke with Vice President Danielle Guerin to learn more about the chapter’s work.
Community building was what brought the farmers who formed the chapter together, and continues to be a large focus of the chapter’s work. In addition to hosting social events to build comradery between members, the chapter plans to offer educational programming to farmers, such as workforce development support, training on how to read and understand financial reports, and workshops on how to be a good employer.
The chapter also runs a fellowship program for beginning farmers who are in the first ten years of their farming career. Each fellow receives a $5,000 grant for their participation and to support a major farm project that will advance their growing business. Previously this fellowship was open to farmers across the state, but in alignment with the chapter’s commitment to furthering racial equity in agriculture, in 2023 the fellowship was for BIPOC farmers in Monroe County. Prior to joining the Board of the chapter, Danielle was a fellow herself.
Through the grant program, the chapter was connected to potential funding sources, like grants, fundations, and corporate partners, that could support their work. Danielle shared that the chapter is specifically seeking grants with recurring cycles to make re-applying for those opportunities simpler. The chapter leaders received an hour-long consultation, during which they were connected to potential funders who aligned with their values and interests as a chapter.
Chapters of the National Young Farmers Coalition are the purpose for and partners in our mission to shift power and change policy to equitably resource our new generation of working farmers. Check out our website to see existing Chapters in your area and email us at Chapters@youngfarmers.org to discuss starting a Chapter.