Funding Interests: Sustainable Agriculture

Gaia Fund's highest priority is to help California address its pressing environmental problems. California is our nation's most productive agricultural state and, as studies have consistently shown, prevailing practices related to the U.S. conventional food and farming system carry high environmental and human welfare costs. With this in mind, the Fund seeks to foster the transition of California's food and farming system to one that is sustainable, integrating the goals of best organic practices, responsible environmental stewardship, profitability, and social and economic equity.

The Fund focuses on sustainable agriculture methods which, concurrently, produce nutritious food crops, mitigate climate change, protect natural resources, and promote biodiversity.

The Fund considers requests for California initiatives that:

  • encourage farmers to adopt sustainable practices;

  • support sustainable farming that operates on a smaller commercial scale and that serves local markets;

  • train individuals for careers in sustainable farming; and

  • preserve land that will be farmed sustainably.

The current focus is on the following food crops: vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains. Meat and fiber production is not a current grantmaking priority. The Fund also does not currently consider urban gardens/agriculture, or garden-based education programs.

The Fund limits its review to proposals for California-based projects, and geographic emphasis is placed on the following Northern California counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Yolo. The Fund may, on occasion, award grants for initiatives operating outside of these counties, if they are judged to have a particular local relevance.