America’s Farmers Grow Communities
Through America’s Farmers Grow CommunitiesSM, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, farmers have the opportunity to win a $2,500 donation for their favorite local non-profit organization. Since launching in 2010, the Grow Communities’ program has invested $635,000 toward rural hunger-related organizations.
“Farmers know which organizations need support within their communities, and food banks have been popular recipients of Grow Communities,” said Deborah Patterson, the Monsanto Fund president. “We are proud to work with the winning farmers and organizations to combat rural hunger.”
Additionally, organizations can propose a project for funding that the farmers can choose from within their eligible county by “planting their idea.” Local food banks have suggested the following ideas:
- Use the donation next spring and summer to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local merchants at area farmers’ markets and distribute the food five days a week.
- Partner with area farmers and orchard owners to create a voucher program so clients can select in-season fruits and vegetables of their choice.
- Use the donation to replenish the food pantry shelves, which were severely reduced due to the 2012 drought.
- Feed elementary students enrolled in the Free and Reduced Meal Program over the weekends during the school year.
Farmers can visit GrowCommunities.com to enroll. Organizations and community members can suggest their project by planting their idea.
America’s Farmers Food Drive
The America’s Farmers Food Drive collects donations during two Midwest U.S. farm shows to support local food pantries. In August, the America’s Farmers Food Drive partners with the Farm Progress® Show, located in either Decatur, Ill., or Boone, Iowa, and in September, the America’s Farmers Food Drive partners with Husker Harvest Days® in Grand Island, Neb. For every pound of food collected, Monsanto donates $1 (up to $10,000) to the United Way, and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation donates $1 (up to $10,000) to Feeding America.
Since the Food Drive launched in 2009, farmers, community members and ag youth have collected more than 100,000 pounds of food, and Monsanto Company has matched the maximum $10,000 donation for both farm shows each year for a cumulative total of $100,000.
Hubert Bone, Decatur Marine Toys for Tots Foundation coordinator, who volunteered for the Salvation Army at this year’s food drive at Farm Progress®, expressed the importance of food drives in rural communities.
“Donations are lacking, and the food banks and pantries can’t keep up with the demands,” said Bone. “But, people want to give. If we increase awareness about hunger in our counties, our communities will respond.”
Each year, FFA chapters and 4-H clubs are invited to participate in the food drive and a statewide competition for the largest food donation.
“We are pleased to facilitate the America’s Farmers Food Drive to both educate youth about rural hunger and encourage them to take action,” said Elizabeth Vancil, Monsanto customer advocacy outreach manager. “We are humbled by the outpouring of support provided by local youth to assist their communities.”
Invest an Acre
In 2012, Monsanto partnered with Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), Howard G. Buffet Foundation and Feeding America to sponsor Invest an Acre. Under the program, farmers can donate an acre or more of their crop to the local ADM elevators, and Monsanto will match farmer donations, dollar for dollar. Feeding America distributes the farmer donations and the Monsanto monetary match to participating food banks.
“As a company that is solely focused on agriculture, we felt it was necessary to partner with other organizations concerned about raising awareness of hunger in rural areas and work with farmers to help provide meals to people in their own communities,” said Brad Roberts, Monsanto corporate marketing communications manager.
Monsanto committed to support the program through a cumulative $3 million contribution over four crop years.
Overall, Monsanto Company and the Monsanto Fund have contributed more than $3.7 million dollars collectively to fight hunger in rural communities, and we’re proud to support these initiatives with the help of farmers.
U.S. farmers are not required to purchase Monsanto products to participate in these programs.
For more information on Monsanto Company’s commitments, visit “Who We Are.”
For more information on the Monsanto Fund grants, visit MonsantoFund.org.