For Immediate Release

Anne FugateThe Athens Farmers Market, with their partners Community Food Initiatives and Rural Action, announces the second annual call for applications for the Ann Fugate Memorial Fund for Beginner Farms grant. Ann Fugate, of Rich Organic Farms, passed away in May 2020, and “this grant opportunity is our effort to pay tribute to her for all of the work she did to support local farmers and keep the AFM on the cutting edge for so many decades and ensure her legacy continues for future generations,” says Ronda Clark, AFM executive committee member and grant coordinator. “She was a fierce advocate for small farmers and a pillar of our market.”

Rural Action Director of Sustainable Agriculture Tom Redfern comments, “Rural Action is very pleased to be able to work with the Athens Farmers Market and other partners to support beginning farmers. Having worked closely with Fugate for several years on food and farming issues, I can think of no better way to honor her passion for our local food system.”

The goal of the fund is to give beginner farmers a leg up in participating at the Athens Farmers Market and to keep new and innovative food producers entering the market to ensure future sustainability for the market and the community. Beginner farmers and first-year recipients of the Ann Fugate award, Cole and Jerome of Toadally Awesome Gardens, say, “The Ann Fugate Fund made entering the Athens Farmers Market accessible to us and allowed us to expand the market for our produce.”

Requirements for the grant include being a beginner farmer, including produce and flower growers, ranchers, eggs, and/or honey producers; not having been an AFM vendor in the past; and living within a 150-mile radius of Athens. Two annual winners will be granted a free stall fee, worth $250 each, but will still be asked to pay the membership fee of $225. Requests for applications can be sent to Ronda Clark and the deadline for submitting is Jan. 31, 2022. Requests and applications can be sent to Clark at

Donations to the AFMF can be written out to CFI with “Ann Fugate” written in the memo section and sent to 94 Columbus Road, Athens OH 45701. CFI is a 501(c) 3 organization and all donations can be a tax write off.