Common Roots Farm - American Farmland Trust

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November 1, 2023

Common Roots Farm

Meet Brighter Future Fund grant recipient, Nina Vukicevic. Nina is the full-time farm manager for Common Roots Farm, a 4.5-acre market garden farm where people with disabilities work together to grow healthy food, beautiful flowers, and build lasting friendships. Located in Santa Cruz, California, Common Roots Farm provides jobs, volunteer opportunities and a paid internship to young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The farm serves as a food production site, ecological resource and volunteer opportunity for people with disabilities throughout the region.

How does Nina plan to use Brighter Future Fund grant money? Because we’re working mostly with hand tools, we need a lot of them to engage more people on our farm. We care for our soil by tilling it as little as possible. We try to modify tools and tasks to include everyone who’s interested in participating on our farm. As such, we propose to purchase more long handled shovels, spades, metal rakes, hula hoes, a T-post pounder, wheelbarrows and gorilla carts and gorilla tubs for our farm. We find gorilla tubs and carts to be a great way to partner farm where people with and without disabilities can share tasks and work together in small groups! We need tools that are heavy duty enough to handle a lot of use. Our wheelbarrows are all rusting!”

About American Farmland Trust (AFT)’s Brighter Future Fund:

AFT’s Brighter Future Fund provides grants of up to $5,000 per project to help farmers nationwide improve farm viability, access, transfer or permanently protect farmland, or adopt regenerative agricultural practices. In 2022, the fund accepted applications from farmers who identify as BIPOC, Veterans, LGBTQIA+ and beginning farmers who had limited access to financial resources in the past. Since 2020, AFT with the support of Tillamook and others has provided approximately $2.5 million in grants directly to more than 2,000 farmers across the nation. Learn more here.