By Juana Lopez, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
As the new year has begun, farm and food workers can begin applying for a one-time $600 pandemic relief payment through the Pasa Sustainable Agriculture starting on March 2023.
On September 7th, 2021, The U.S Department of Agriculture created a new Farm and Food Relief grant program to relief costs from personal, family, or living expenses, related to covid-19 pandemic such as personal protective equipment, dependent care, and expenses associated to quarantines (USDA 2021). The USDA opened applications for this grant in order to partner up with non-profit organizations, state agencies, and tribal entities that would make sure that the grant money would be reimbursed and reach farmworkers and meatpackers for up to $600 in COVID-19 expense.
Then on October 25th, 2022, The USDA selected 14 non-profits and one tribal entity for the Farm and Food Workers Relief Program. This program provides about $665 million in funds to state agencies, Tribal entities and nonprofits to farm or meat workers. At the height of the pandemic, where much of the world worked remotely at home, these group of farmers and workers continued to work and provide food for the country. One of the non-profits that was selected was the Pasa Sustainable Agriculture which covers 14 states including Vermont.
Pasa Sustainable Agriculture is a nonprofit organization that helps administer farmer training, research, policy, peer education, networking and many more. In order to apply for these relief payments, Pasa is currently only accepting applications from farmworkers and meatpacker workers. These applications will be opened in March 2023 and will be accepted until July 2024.
Eligible workers will need to submit personal information that has their name, address, place of employment and proof that they worked during the COVID-19 pandemic. When approved, eligible workers will receive their $600 payment by check, ACH direct deposit, if applying in person (Pasafarming.org). These applications will become available in English and Spanish.
For more information on how to apply for the grant, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (814)-349-9856. For additional information, please visit: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/ or https://pasafarming.org/relief