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Winrock International
Mississippi river Wallace Center

Farmer Conservation Leader Subaward Program: Supporting changemakers in the Mississippi River Basin

The Wallace Center at Winrock International is pleased to announce the nine recipients of its Farmer Conservation Leader Subaward Program, an initiative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Division.

This program addresses the needs of historically underserved farming communities in the Mississippi River Region by providing funding and technical support to organizations to design and implement sustainable conservation projects. It also recognizes the leadership that many historically underserved farmers already offer to land and water conservation. In its role as program administrator, the Wallace Center supports subawardees in their program evaluation efforts and facilitates learning across the cohort of organizations.

Four advisors will support organizations in implementing their programs. These advisors are trusted experts in sustainable agriculture and food systems. They include Felicia Bell of RD&S Farm; Pakou Hang, founder and former executive director of Hmong American Farmers Association; Mackenize Martinez of Intertribal Agriculture Council; and Brennan Washington of Phoenix Gardens.

The participating subawardee organizations and Tribal nations are:

  • A Red Circle: This North St. Louis County, Missouri-based organization will partner with seven farmers to document and disseminate their existing water quality and conservation practices and support implementation of new practices that are best for their context.
  • Mileston Cooperative Association: This Tchula, Mississippi-based organization will implement a toxic algae mitigation project designed to improve water quality through nutrient management and ultraviolet light treatment and collaboration with farmers.
  • Sông Community Development Corporation: This New Orleans-based farming nonprofit organization proposes to work with BIPOC farmers on reducing non-point source pollution with local technical assistance provider partner, Sprout NOLA.
  • Dream of Wild Health: This Minneapolis-based organization will create an Indigenous farmer incubator and training program with partners, Intertribal Agricultural Council, Upper Midwest Indigenous Seed Keepers Network, and Savanna Institute.
  • Holmes County Food Hub: This Durant, Mississippi-based organization seeks to partner with New North Florida Cooperative to implement water management on historically underserved producer farms through unmanned aerial vehicles in the Lower Mississippi River Region. 
  • Alliance of Sustainable Farms: This Holmes County, Mississippi-based organization will work to strengthen the capacity of Mississippi’s historically underserved farmers and communities by implementing sustainable, conservation, and climate smart agricultural practices focused on water quality.
  • Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA): This membership-based organization in St. Paul, Minnesota will increase the percentage of the HAFA Farm that is seasonally covered in cover crops to 40% over three years by training their farmers on cover crops, water quality monitoring, soil sampling, and providing one-on-one technical assistance.
  • Potlikker Capital: This charitable, integrated nonprofit capital fund based in Ithaca, New York will support farmers in the Upper Mississippi River Basin region to transition to sustainable farming methods, resulting in improved soil conditions, environmental conservation, increased farm profitability, and healthier communities with a focus on symbiotic mutualism.
  • Ho-Chunk Nation: This tribal nation with traditional territory across modern-day Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois will recruit a cohort of farmers to receive targeted training on regenerative practices and traditional ecological knowledge. The Ho-Chunk Nation will also offer field days and community events for hands-on learning and to promote broader awareness.

More information about this program can be found here.

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