In 2013, Grow Ahead was launched as cross-cultural initiative of Progreso and Cooperative Coffees geared towards pre-financing fair trade coffee harvests. Its organizational structure consisted of partnerships between consumers and producers, roasters and importers, banks and NGOs.

Today, Grow Ahead endeavors to support small family farmers as they address the challenge of climate change in their communities. Small farmer organizations in the developing world are historically under-resourced, with limited access to the capital needed to grow their organizations beyond their day-to-day needs. Grow Ahead intends to bridge the resource and funding gap and will work in 3 key areas moving forward:

  1. Facilitating a revolving loan program for farmer-developed resiliency projects, such as soil conservation and yield-boosting compost operations.
  2. Raising funds for annual regional Farmer to Farmer exchanges. These exchanges will facilitate farm leaders’ ability to share successes and resources. They will also produce written and multimedia resources, encapsulating farmer experiences and “takeaways” to share with other farmers.
  3. Providing funds and resources for farm leader “multiplier” agroecology scholarships. Grow Ahead will raise funds earmarked specifically to provide scholarships for farm leaders and trainers to attend farmer-centric agroecology schools.

Grow Ahead is managed by Fair World Project (FWP). FWP is a consumer advocacy organization contributing to the movement to build a just economy that benefits and empowers all people especially those traditionally marginalized in our current system, including small-scale producers, family-scale farmers, and food and apparel workers. FWP is an independent project of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), a 501(c)3 non-profit.

Team

Ryan Zinn

Director

Ryan is the Director for Grow Ahead. Ryan is the Organic & Fair Trade Coordinator for Dr. Bronner’s, focusing on Dr. Bronner’s international supply chains and farmer training. Ryan also shares his time with Fair World Project and Grow Ahead. Ryan has worked in the food and farm justice movement at home and abroad for 20 years, including with such organizations as the Center for International Law, Friends of the Earth-Paraguay, Global Exchange and the Organic Consumers Association.

Email Ryan at Ryan @ growahead.org.

Alexandra Groome

Program Coordinator

Alexandra is the Program Coordinator for Grow Ahead. She is also the Program Coordinator for Regeneration International (RI), a nonprofit dedicated to building a global network of people who promote and practice regenerative agriculture and land use. Alex first discovered regenerative agriculture at Finca Luna Nueva, an organic biodynamic farm in Costa Rica. Inspired by the power of regenerative agriculture to cool the planet and feed the world, she joined RI and moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where she is based at RI's sister project Via Organica, a regenerative organic ranch, restaurant and education center. Email Alex at Coordinator @ growahead.org