EMERYVILLE, CA. — Clif Bar & Co. has gifted a $1 million endowment to Tuskegee University to support research done at the University’s College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences (CAENS). The funds will promote the advancement of organic agriculture research and farming practices. Non-profit organization Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) will match the endowment, raising the total to a $2 million gift.

Last June, Erin Silva, PhD, a professor at the College of Agriculture and Life Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, received the endowment to expand the study and advancement of organic agriculture at the university. Clif Bar has been gifting endowments to land-grant institutions since 2015. Tuskegee University is the fifth recipient of the company’s endowment program and the first Historically Black College and University to receive the Clif Bar award.

This endowment will specifically support the work of plant and soil science professors and researchers, Joe K. Kpomblekou, PhD, and Franklin Quarcoo, PhD. Work by the professors was showcased and highlighted at the annual Agriculture Workers Conference in Montgomery, Ala., Nov. 14.

“Investing in an organic and equitable future for US farming and agriculture is imperative to advancing our food systems and ensuring broader access to organic food for all,” Dr. Kpomblekou said. “We are grateful to Clif Bar for their industry leadership and commitment to organic research and education, which will ultimately benefit not just Tuskegee University but inspire more Black leaders in organic farming.”

Of the 30,909 certified organic farms in the United States, only 0.5% are Black-owned, according the latest US Census of Agriculture.

“At Clif, our purpose is to redesign the business of food for the benefit of health, equity and Earth, and supporting Tuskegee’s work to make organic more accessible and equitable is a meaningful way to deliver on that promise,” said Roma McCaig, senior vice president of impact and communications at Clif Bar. “We are committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion and are proud to support Tuskegee's work that will help create a more inclusive future for organic farming."