University of Vermont

Focusing on Beginning Farmers


Mini Grant Opportunities

Service providers who participate in both a focus group and follow up conference call will be eligible to apply for a mini-grant (up to $1000) to make a change in program delivery or additional stakeholder assessment activities within the next nine months. A total of $5,000 is available in this award cycle.

Mini-grant projects can address any aspect of service delivery to beginning farmers. Proposals should show a clear connection to the needs and priorities that emerged from the focus groups, and they should include a plan to assess the impact on participating farmers. Priority will be given to proposals in which service providers collaborate with each other and/or with farmers who participated in their focus group.

The mini grant application is on-line, and should be straightforward to complete. If you have any questions, please contact Beth at 802-223-2389 or

Mini Grant Proposal (Application) Form

Mini Grant Proposal Directions & Criteria

I. Eligibility.

All agricultural service providers who participated in a focus group and a follow-up conference call are eligible for mini grants. Preference will be given to proposals in which two or more people focus group participants collaborate.

II. Funding and Timelines.

The maximum funding amount is $1,000. The Focusing on Beginning Farmers Project reserves the right to award less than the full amount requested in any proposal. Funding will be made on a reimbursement basis based on receipts. Allowable expenses include project materials; project-related services; travel reimbursements; postage, printing, phone and other outreach expenses; and compensation for consultants, technical advisors and project staff directly involved in the project. If you have questions about whether a particular expense is allowable, please contact Beth at or 802-223-2389x15.

III. Deadlines.

Proposals must be submitted by 5 pm on Wednesday, June 9. 2010. You will receive notification about whether your project was funded by Wednesday, June 16. 2010.

Application Instructions

Use the online proposal form to submit your proposal. If you have trouble accessing the form, contact Beth at 802-223-2389 or Within a few minutes of hitting the submit button on the form, you should receive a confirmation e-mail confirming your submission. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact Beth immediately.

IV. Review Process and Criteria

A small panel will review the proposals. The primary goal of the mini grants is to provide some support for service providers to adapt existing programming or pilot new programs that are specifically geared to the needs of aspiring and beginning farmers (0-10 years). Additionally, service providers from states other than Vermont may use mini grant funds to use what they learned at the Vermont focus groups to conduct stakeholder assessments in their state, or to share what they learned with other service providers, etc.


Target audience (Questions 7 & 8) -- 15 points.
Does the proposal clearly identify the target audience for the project? Does the description of the target audience provide adequate information (location, enterprises, experience, challenges) to get a sense of why they will be motivated to participate in the project. Is the number of participants realistic?

Project Activities (Question 9) -- 15 points.
Does the proposal clearly identify what will be done, where and when?

Relationship to focus group discussion (Question 10) -- 15 points.
Does the proposal explain how the project responds to some need and/or priority that was discussed at the focus group the proposal writer attended?

Potential Impact (Question 11) --15 points.
Does the proposal clearly identify what success will look like? Does the proposal what participants will learn, how might they use that knowledge, what new opportunities might be available to them, and/or what changes will they make as a result of participating.

Evaluation Plan (Question 12)-- 20 points
Preference will be given to proposals that will conduct follow-up surveys to assess if participants gain new production, marketing or business skills, or improve their access to land, capital, credit or community support as a result of the project.

Collaborators (Question 13) -- 20 points
Preference will be given to proposals in which there is collaboration among two or more individuals who attended a focus group. Both farmers and service providers can serve as collaborators.

Award notifications will be made by June 16, 2010.

Last modified May 11 2010 04:34 PM

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