Agricultural Support and Protection (ASAP) Emergency Matching Grant Program

In 2020, Ag + Open Space created the one-time Agricultural Support and Protection (ASAP) Emergency Matching Grant Program to help mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Sonoma County’s agricultural community, the vitality of which is essential in the provision of local food, natural resource protection, scenic open space, and economic opportunities.

On March 2, 2021 our Board of Directors accepted the following projects into the Program for a a total of $177,148 to nine projects:

  • B-Side Farm: For bulbs, tubers, and other plants for the next growing season.
  • Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF): For the implementation of the Farm to Market Tech Hub in Sonoma County. This hub provides free resources to family farms and other local food businesses to help pivot to online sales models.
  • Farmers Market LIFE: To support the Market Match incentive program, which makes locally grown, fresh food more affordable to CalFresh customers.
  • Full Bloom Flower Farm and Floral Design: For bulbs, tubers, and seeds for the next growing season.
  • Petaluma Bounty: To support the Sponsor-A-Box program, a discounted CSA box program, and other irrigation and maintenance needs. 
  • Radical Family Farms: To support CSA box home delivery for immunocompromised/elderly community members, Farmers Market booth fees, CSA packaging materials, and compost.
  • Red H Farm: For supplies needed to pivot the business to provide a winter CSA program. 
  • Strong Arm Farm: To obtain organic certification, and seeds, plants, and other operating costs.
  • West East Herbal: To help cover lease costs, soil amendments, office space, ads, farmers market fees and licenses, and a greenhouse cover.

Program Background
Under the voter-approved Expenditure Plan, Ag + Open Space is authorized to devote funding to protect “agriculturally productive lands,” defined to include “working farms and ranches, and other lands used for the production of food, fiber and plant materials and the raising and maintaining of livestock and farm animals.” Paragraph 5 authorizes expenditures to undertake a potentially broad range of “other open space projects” through matching grants.

Although the Matching Grant Program is usually applied to fund urban open space and recreation projects within and near incorporated or urbanized areas, the ASAP Program was a limited, one-time expansion of the program to preserve agricultural land uses as “other open space projects” in this unique emergency circumstance.