Slow Food Orange County Microgrants

The Slow Food Orange County Microgrant Program distributes small cash awards to local community groups, organizations, and businesses whose programs and products promote the core values of Slow Food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good, that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment or our health, and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.

Slow Food Orange County is an entirely volunteer-run chapter of the non-profit organization Slow Food USA. To date, our budget is supported by local fundraising and event fees. In the interest of strengthening our local food culture and supporting our mission, we are offering a limited number of microgrants to individuals, community groups, and locally-owned small businesses. At this time, the maximum grant award is $1,500. Most awards are between $200 - $1,000.

You may download the application form here: Slow Food Orange County Microgrant Application Form.

Program Goals

We have created the Slow Food OC microgrant program in order to fill gaps that we see in traditional funding sources for local food-related projects, especially for small-scale food growers and producers, community innovators, and educators.

Program Support

Slow Food OC is a local chapter of Slow Food USA that raises funds through our classes and events. We welcome additional financial contributions at any time, in any amount, to help continue this effort. One hundred percent of all direct financial contributions will be given out as microgrants, since we are entirely volunteer-run.

Who can apply for a grant?

Any individual, small business, or non-profit committed to Slow Food International principles of good, clean, fair food, cultural diversity, and conviviality.

What kinds of projects qualify?

High priorities include food-related projects that help increase or enhance:

  • local skills, knowledge, and capacity
  • the production and availability of locally produced foods (especially artisanal, Ark of Taste, wildcrafted, heirloom, or sustainably produced)
  • regional and cultural food traditions
  • taste or youth education, including school and community gardens and urban farming and food initiatives

If you want to find out if an idea will fit within the program’s guidelines, please contact us directly at before you fill out an application.

What are some specific examples?

  • Funding to support agricultural biodiversity, including the purchase of seeds and equipment related to producing a crop or breed of livestock, especially if it is:
    • On the Ark of Taste
    • An existing or new Presidia project, (local projects that work to improve the infrastructure of artisan food production)
    • On the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy watch list
    • Another open-pollinated/heirloom variety
    • Another local food crop or tradition at risk
  • Funding to enhance your farm or operation that enhances sustainability, such as projects to address energy efficiency, transition to certified naturally grown, organic, or biodynamic (including initial certification costs) or invest in equipment or supplies that will enhance your operation and opportunities.
  • Funding to help start an urban garden or micro-farm as a community development or educational program.
  • Funding to cover travel costs to attend a regional or national conference about Slow Food or sustainable agriculture that relates directly to your business, teaching, or education.
  • Funding to cover travel costs to attend a workshop or apprentice with an expert in your food specialty (cheese-making, heirloom fruit or vegetable growing, baking, market farming, CSA operations, etc.)

How do I apply?

At this time, grants proposals are accepted twice a year, generally in the months of January and July. Awards are announced mid-February and mid-August.

To apply, download a copy of the Slow Food Orange County Microgrant Application Form, follow the detailed instructions, and be sure to fill out the form completely. To submit your completed application, email to


  • Use “Save As” and re-name the blank application file with a new, unique name before you start filling it out.
  • Be clear, specific, and concise about your project and include a detailed and realistic budget. You can also include letters of support and other documentation.

While we must be careful stewards of our limited funding, we don’t mean for this to be a burdensome process. If you have any questions or need help, contact us at

Do I need to be a Slow Food USA member?

Members will be given priority, but anyone can apply for a grant. To join Slow Food USA, click here. Joining Slow Food USA makes you a member of your local chapter.

When are applications due?

At this point, microgrants are awarded twice a year. Applications for 2014 grants will accepted between July¬† 1st and midnight, July 31st. Applications will then be reviewed by a selection committee. The full Slow Food Orange County Steering Committee votes on final grant decisions after considering the committee’s recommendations. If you apply, you will be notified as to whether or not you have been awarded funding by August 15th.

How much funding can I request?

The maximum grant request is $1,500 but most awards are in the $200-1,000 range. We strongly encourage you to seek matching funds from other private, government and/or foundation sources. The grants are quite competitive and due to funding constraints we are only able to support a few of the many worthy projects that are submitted.

Please read the Microgrant application form carefully before you apply.