Farming With Love: Pittsburgh's Path to Humane Agriculture
The Ethical Farming Fund, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that promotes humane animal farming, is preparing for a new program that will give individuals the power to improve animal welfare on local farms--and a way to brag about it.
The Farming With Love program, set to launch this summer, will use shirts (like the ones modeled below), bags, and other merchandise to finance the Ethical Farming Fund's grant program (called the Farmraiser), which helps local farms improve the lives of their animals.
The EFF's founders Hannah Ridge and Tim Trout, modeling prototypes of the Farming With Love T-shirts, designed by local artist Eric Mrock.
"It's a unique way for Pittsburghers to have a real impact on the lives of farm animals in the area," says Hannah Ridge, CEO and co-founder of the Ethical Farming Fund. "The merchandise is really our way of thanking them for taking an active role in improving animal welfare."
To launch the program, the Ethical Farming Fund is crowdfunding the initial inventory and to get a head start on the next Farmraiser Grant. "Having an inventory at the ready will be better for our donors," says Ridge. "But ordering a large amount at once also allows us to reduce production costs, meaning more proceeds going to our grant program." Backers of the currently active crowdfunding campaign (found at farmingwithlove.fund) can receive the merchandise before Farming With Love officially launches and just in time for the start of farmers market season, the perfect venue to show off their support for local, humane agriculture.
The first Farmraiser Grant was awarded in 2016 to the Streets Family Farm in Johnstown, and helped them build a permanent fence for rotationally grazing their livestock, a method which gives animals continuous access to fresh pasture, ensuring optimal health for the animals and the soil. "The folks at the Ethical Farming Fund have been an absolute joy to work with," says Janelle of the Streets Family Farm. "They truly care about helping small farms thrive as well as connecting people to their local food source."
The grant was such a success that the EFF hopes to offer them more regularly. That's where Farming With Love comes in: when a donation is made to receive a FWL item, the net proceeds from the donation will be saved for the Farmraiser Grant Program. When enough is raised, the EFF will announce the availability of the grant and begin accepting proposals from local farmers for projects that will improve animal welfare on their farms. This fundraising model presents an alternative to holding large fundraisers with high overhead costs, instead providing continuous, low-maintenance fundraising.
While Farming With Love will eventually be hosted at ethicalfarmingfund.org, people wishing to take part in the crowdfunding campaign to receive the merchandise before the program launches should visit farmingwithlove.fund.