Nearly one in three farmers across the Great Lakes is over 65 and will likely be transferring their farms in the next 15 years. These farms, and conservation investments on them, are at risk of being converted to real estate development.

At the same time, women, People of Color, and LGBTIQIA+ people are increasingly becoming the next generation of farmers and farmland owners. This new generation has historically been underserved by conservation programs and are often not likely to inherit farms.

These massive challenges present opportunities to promote conservation through successful farm transfers and create more equitable paths to land access in the Great Lakes Watershed.

The project aims to support the ecological health of the Great Lakes while sustaining a viable agricultural economy and communities.
To reach this goal, American Farmland Trust and our partners will:
  • Connect and support a network of skilled Navigators who will advance an integrated approach to farm transfer and conservation farming practices.
  • Adapt trainings to integrate farm transfer and conservation planning.
  • Offer microgrants and technical assistance to beginning farmers and landowners in the Great Lakes Watershed to implement conservation and transfer plans. 

Apply for a Brighter Future Fund Great Lakes Farm Navigators Network Grant

American Farmland Trust recognizes the barrier of costs associated with land transfer, access and stewardship. Grants are intended to leverage other resources (either in-kind from the farmer, or other private and public funds) and make a difference for farmers to  1) access, transfer or permanently protect farmland, or  2) adopt regenerative farming practices and increase resilience of farmland in the Great Lakes watershed.

Grants will be awarded in amounts up to $4,000 per project, and farmers must work with a Great Lakes Farm Navigator to qualify.

Apply here and read the Grant Guidelines for more information.