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Fresno gives $500k in federal funding to local micro farmers struggling during COVID-19

News

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — On Friday the City of Fresno and the Fresno Farmers Bridge gave over half a million dollars in grants to local small scale farmers impacted by COVID-19.

A majority of the money comes from the city’s portion of the city’s $92 million awarded through the cares act.

Six hundred farmers will get $1,000 grants as long as they donate surplus food into the community.

Jet Mouachonko said usually he sells his green beans across the state, but since the pandemic, the demand is running low.

“My crop wasted,” said Mouachonko. “You put a lot of money on it and it’s wasted. So it is a good thing that they have this kind of program.”

As many people shelter at home, Fresno Farm Bridge Founder Jessica Morse said many small scale farmers take a big financial hit.

“They are often too small for formal safety net programs that are often designed around more industrialized agriculture and they lack the technology and the language skills to be able to quickly pivot to online services or curbside pick-up to be able to adapt their businesses to this crisis,” said Morse.

All micro farmers are eligible for the grants as long as they donate their unused crops to the community. That food bagged and donated to the most vulnerable families in the community.

“It is a win-win,” said Councilmember Esmerelda Soria. “The food is not only being bought by the small farmers but it is going to go back to the families that are in desperate need. Many of them are standing in food lines every week to make sure their families get fed during this crisis.”

“I feel much happy that they can step in and help,” said Mouachonko. “They can step in and help. It will help me stay farming.”

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