Nov. 4, 2009 (Arden Hills, Minn.) – The Land O’Lakes Foundation today announced the establishment of a new program, Feeding Our Communities, focused specifically on helping alleviate hunger in rural America. The program, which includes direct and matching grants, has the potential to generate up to an additional $1 million for hunger-related initiatives in rural communities.
Foundation officials said Feeding Our Communities is a very focused and strategic approach to the growing issue of rural hunger.
“There is a tendency to underestimate the impact of hunger in rural communities,”
Land O’Lakes Foundation Executive Director Lydia Botham said today. “But the fact is, the percentage of rural households that are food insecure matches, or even exceeds, the percentage of urban households. As a farmer-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes is committed to addressing the quality of life in rural communities.”
As part of the Feeding Our Communities initiative, the Land O’Lakes Foundation Board of Directors has approved funding for a program with the potential to generate up to an additional $1 million for hunger-related programs in rural communities – delivered through a combination of direct grants and the Foundation’s Member Co-op Match Program.
“The Feeding Our Communities grant program represents a direct response to the increased need we are seeing in today’s challenging economy,” Land O’Lakes Foundation Board Chairman Jim Hager said. “It channels financial resources into the communities where our members live, work, farm and do business. It represents a very focused approach to a very significant, and growing, need. Just as important, it involves member- cooperatives in identifying and addressing needs within their local communities.”
Hager noted that Land O’Lakes member-cooperatives have not only been informed of the matching grants program, but that tools to help promote the program and identify hunger-focused local agencies and initiatives and complete grant applications also have been made available.
“We want to make it as easy as possible to participate … and make a positive difference across rural America,” Hager said.
Land O’Lakes, Inc. (www.landolakesinc.com ) is a national, farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative with 2008 annual sales of $12 billion. Land O’Lakes is a Fortune 250 company which does business in all 50 states and more than 50 countries. It is a leading marketer of a full line of dairy-based consumer, foodservice and food ingredient products across the United States; serves its international customers with a variety of food and animal feed ingredients; and provides farmers and ranchers with an extensive line of agricultural supplies (feed, seed, and crop protection products) and services. Land O’Lakes also provides agricultural assistance and technical training in more than 25 developing nations.
The Land O’Lakes Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life in communities where Land O’Lakes Inc. has members, employees, plants and facilities. Land O’Lakes Foundation proactively helps rural communities prosper and prepare for tomorrow by donating resources that develop and strengthen organizations dedicated to human service, education and youth, civic and art endeavors.