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Foundation Programs

New England Farmers Union Education Foundation (NEFU EF) works to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life of family farmers, fishermen, foresters, nurserymen, and consumers in all six New England states. Working hand in hand with our membership organization, New England Farmers Union (NEFU), NEFU EF creates and promotes educational resources to advance the viability of our region’s producers.

Ongoing education programs include:

  1. Co-operative Development: working with Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, the John Merck Fund, High Meadows Fund, and the Rural Development department of the USDA, NEFU EF is assessing the need for co-operative services in New England and developing tools that will support co-operative businesses across the food chain.
  2. Co-operative Education: NEFU EF sends up to five members to National Farmers Union’s College Conference on Co-operatives each year, who bring back to the region information and skills that will foster the co-operative business model here. CHS Foundation and NFU fund this programming.
  3. Farmer Leadership: Grooming the next generation of farmer leaders is a requirement if we want to see the region well represented in Washington, D.C. A grant from Farm Aid allows NEFU EF to send 10 to 15 farmers to the capital each year to share their priorities with their Congressional representatives.
  4. Feeding the Hungry: NEFU EF has joined with National Farmers Union to meet a challenge grant benefiting Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. When you join New England Farmers Union, your membership dues help NEFU to continue work on our ambitious agenda AND help feed your hungry neighbors.
  5. Healthy Food Access: With a grant from Jane’s Trust and in partnership with Neighboring Food Co-op Association and the Co-operative Fund of New England, NEFU EF is working to improve access to fresh, local food for underserved communities.

Past programs include:

  1. Beginning Farmer Agriculture Alliance: NEFU EF is a partner with New Entry Sustainable Farming Project to develop an alliance for Massachusetts beginning farmers. This two-year project was funded by the US Department of Agriculture.
  2. “Buy Local” Carbon Credits: Working with Winrock International, NEFU EF identified farming practices for manure and fertilizer management, fuel switching, and energy efficiency upgrades. Dairy, orchards/fruit, greenhouse/nursery, and selected vegetable sectors (potatoes and sweet corn) are most likely candidates for carbon crediting on a large scale in New England. Funding for this program comes from Farm Aid, High Meadows Fund, NH Charitable Foundation, the US Department of Agriculture, the Island Foundation and NFU.
  3. Co-operative Education in the Classroom: Working with a grant from the CHS Foundation, NEFU EF offered curriculum about the cooperative business model to students in agricultural and natural resources programs in New England community colleges.
  4. Fresh Apple Slices for Institutional Buyers:  In collaboration with the New England Apple Association and with funding from the Association of Family Farms, NEFU EF explored the market potential for fresh sliced apples for schools and other institutions in New England.  The program is modeled after a successful program in New York State.
  5. Renewable Energy and Climate Education:  NEFU EF collaborated with NFU to educate voters in New Hampshire about federal climate legislation and renewable energy issues. The work was funded by the Energy Foundation.
  6. Strengthening a New England Coalition on Farm Policy:  NEFU EF and partners American Farmland Trust, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, and Wholesome Wave joined together to raise awareness about farm policy with a focus on the most recent farm bill.
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