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Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies

New grant program taps fair-food connection to fight hunger

County fairs bring together farms, families and food, making them prime opportunities for raising awareness about food insecurity — and distributing food to those who need it.
Date Posted: February 12, 2024

A new grant program encourages county Farm Bureaus to partner with county fairs and similar local events to help fight hunger close to home.

Farm & Fairs Hunger-Relief Grants are the product of the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) Family of Companies partnering with the Michigan Association of Fairs & Exhibitions (MAFE). Awards of $500 to $750 are available for collaborative efforts funding local-level hunger relief projects. 

“The idea is that funded activities will take place at an MAFE fair or festival,” explained Audrey Carey, community engagement specialist with the MFB Family of Companies. “The local fair planning committee should be involved in the process, but applications can be submitted by another entity — a county Farm Bureau or even an FFA club.

“We’re hoping to see these groups come together to address hunger locally.”

According to Feeding America, 282,320 Michigan children had inadequate access to food in 2021, and of our 10 most food-insecure counties, eight are predominantly rural. 

Fairs and other local festivals are popular venues bringing together farms, families and food. They’re prime opportunities for raising awareness about food insecurity — and distributing food to those who need it.

Farm & Fairs Hunger-Relief Grants will fund programs at fairs and festivals aimed at boosting supplies at Michigan’s food bank and pantry network through donations of farm commodities, non-perishable food products or money. Fundraising events hosted alongside hunger-relief agencies are also encouraged.

There is no prescribed application form; applicants are asked to email written proposals directly to [email protected]. In a page or less, application letters should summarize how your local fair or festival plans to impact childhood hunger in your community, and include:

  • Program name 
  • Beneficiary organization 
  • Donation type (food, monetary, fundraiser, etc.) 
  • Timeline & budget 
  • Other involved community partners 
  • Anticipated impact 

For more guidance crafting their applications, prospective applicants are encouraged to review the “Want To Do More?” section of our End Childhood Hunger website.

“We wanted to be open-ended to leave room for ingenuity in addressing childhood hunger where these groups see their best opportunity to intervene,” Carey said. “It could help build on an existing effort like Harvest for All by involving a fair or festival, or a platform jumpstarting something new. 

“The opportunities are almost endless!”

Priority will go toward applicants and programs that: 

  • Partner with a county Farm Bureau, Farm Bureau Insurance agent/agency, FFA, 4-H clubs and/or schools
  • Are responding to a disproportionate community need 
  • Intend to reach a high number of food-insecure children 
  • Advance agriculture 
  • Pledge outside financial commitment 

Applications are due April 1; winners will be notified May 1 via email. Final reports detailing the resulting total donation will be due Nov. 1.