MILLERTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Rock Steady Farm in Millerton has been awarded $40,000 by Capital Impact Partners and National Cooperative Bank for its ninth annual Co-op Innovation Awards. The awards aim to increase cooperative development in low-income communities and/or communities of color.
Rock Steady Farm is a queer- and trans-owned vegetable farm rooted in social justice, food access, and farmer training. The $40,000 will be used to create a paid apprenticeship program for queer and trans farmers, and farmers of color.
“This award will help Rock Steady Farm create the conditions for queer, trans, and BIPOC farmers to thrive, despite the structural barriers that exist for queer and trans farmers of color in the food and farm industry,” said Rock Steady Farm co-owners D. Rooney, Maggie Cheney, Kyle Ellis, and Rica Bryan.
The program, named Pollinate, is for new farmers who practice or are planning to practice cooperative farming models that can support the wider community. “Through our longstanding community partnerships and with this funding, we will expand our support to beginner QTBIPOC farmers who seek to establish community-centered and co-op farming ventures,” said the owners.
Since 2015, the Co-op Innovation Awards have awarded $855,000 in grants. The other 2023 awardees included a composting company in Massachusetts, a development center in Washington, and a maternal healthcare center in Louisiana.