Working Farms Fund

According to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, one in nine Georgia residents faces food insecurity. Emory University outlined a goal in its Sustainability Vision and Strategic Plan to expand sustainable food purchases locally or sustainably grown by 75% in 2025. To achieve this ambitious goal, Emory partnered with the Working Farms Fund program of The Conservation Fund. Through this partnership, Emory entered into food purchase agreements with local farmers and cooperatives, providing them access to land they lease to own and a guaranteed institutional purchaser—Emory University—supporting their financial stability.
The Working Farms Fund initiative secured protected land for young, underrepresented, or minority farmers while boosting the supply of local, sustainable food for Emory University and the metro Atlanta area. Emory University commits to purchasing these crops, ensuring a dependable supply of locally sourced food, and reducing the distance from farm to table. In 2023, Emory received a Campus Sustainability Achievement Award for this initiative.
This partnership secures a reliable source of local food, enhances community resilience, and promotes environmentally friendly farming practices. As of 2023, the Working Farms Fund has preserved 745 acres in conservation easements, with 40 new farmers who are 27% women and 68% biracial, Indigenous, or persons of color. The success of this model has inspired other institutions to replicate the approach, expanding its impact beyond Georgia.
Learn more about this initiative on the Food & Dining area of our website or The Conservation Fund’s website!”

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