New grant program supports Shenandoah Valley foods businesses
Valley Conservation Council (VCC) and the Staunton Creative Community Fund (SCCF) have funded eight projects through the Agriculture Cultivates Resilient EconomieS (ACRES) grant program. The grant recipients are farms and local foods businesses committed to excellence in water quality:
- Aleta Springs Farm: a sheep and goat farm using funding to enlarge a driveway culvert, for greater stream health and farm access.
- Cool Breeze Stables and Farm: an innovative vegetable farm at an established stable and riding center using funding to install a pond harvested water from driveways and roof runoff from a large indoor riding arena.
- Dancing Star Farm: a permaculture vegetable farm using funding to redirect driveway runoff with a water bar, new retention pond, and mycoremediation to clean and rehabilitate water entering the property from other places.
- Malcolm’s Market Garden: a production vegetable farm in Staunton using funding to fund their summer internship program.
- Mt. Crawford Creamery: a local dairy in Mt. Crawford using funding to build a break room, to provide their ~15 employees with better work conditions.
- Nu-Beginning Farm in Greenville: a small organic farm and Staunton storefront using funding to purchase an open faced cooler to display local produce in the store.
- True & Essential Meats in Harrisonburg: a local meat slaughter and butcher facility using funding to build a website connecting consumers with available local meat from their client producers.
- White Barn Company in New Hope: a family livestock and row crop farm using funding to secure a hammer mill to grind their own non-GMO feed, as well as an auto-watering system for their pigs and custom labels.
Each grant recipient has demonstrated practices that support excellent water quality, and each will work with the Staunton Creative Community Fund to improve their business practices. As a result of the ACRES program, Augusta and Rockingham’s conservation-oriented farm economy will be $24,000 stronger. An event in the fall will bring recipients together to celebrate and share their projects with each other and the community.