First Southwest Community Fund (FSWCF) recently received a Rural Business Development Grant for Colorado Quinoa, a unique business that sources its quinoa from a collective of small, organic and conventional quinoa farmers throughout the San Luis Valley. By working with multiple farmers, they are able to offer many selections of quinoa with amazing amounts of protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
The New Family brought Quinoa production to North America, and Mosca, Colorado, in 1982. In the past three decades the New family and White Mountain Farms, has perfected their crop, and in 2015 they partnered with Rockey Farms to create Colorado Quinoa. Because quinoa uses between 30 to 50 percent less water than most other crops, the arid desert and high elevation of the San Luis Valley (7,500 feet and the highest elevation of farming in the United States) is a unique location for quinoa production, much like its South American origins of Bolivia and Chile. Further, this makes it an excellent rotation crop for local farmers. With steady growth over the last few decades, Colorado Quinoa was ready to expand sales beyond the San Luis Valley, but was in need of some assistance for amplifying their entrepreneurial endeavors.
This year First Southwest Community Fund, a 501c3 nonprofit, had the opportunity to apply for the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Development Grant on behalf of Colorado Quinoa. Open to applicants nationwide, the Rural Business Development Grant issued through the United States Department of Agriculture, is an extremely competitive grant. Applications for the grant must demonstrate economic need in the area, job creation and consistency with local priorities.
The grant was awarded this summer and with the grant money, Colorado Quinoa plans to hire seven new full time employees, increase processing capacity safely and efficiently, expand their online sales, and research more sustainable and efficient agricultural practices..
“We believe that aiding Colorado Quinoa’s growth will have a significant effect on the larger valley community, including increasing jobs, promoting sustainable farming practices, and furthering locally minded business models in the San Luis Valley,” says Kent Curtis, First Southwest Community Fund President. “The Colorado Quinoa group is comprised of knowledgeable farmers and successful businessmen who have had lasting success with their agricultural endeavors and we anticipate Colorado Quinoa will be no different. We’re excited to see how the funding from the Rural Business Development Grant positively impacts their continued growth and impacts the community.”
For more information on this grant and potential 2019 grant opportunities for your rural Colorado business, please contact First Southwest Bank’s Community Development Director, Roxanne DeMarco, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications for 2019 accepted through October 12th.
As always, grants are subject to Congressional approval.
You can learn more about the First Southwest Community Fund HERE and First Southwest Bank HERE!