Frequently asked Questions
Have more questions about Grow Further? We’ve put together a collection of answers to your questions.
It’s essentially a giving circle run like an angel investment group for the sourcing, screening, and evaluating of grants to agricultural scientists in developing countries. There will be different types of investment circles, some built around geography and others around existing groups such as alumni associations, and the ratio of in-person to virtual communications will vary from one group to another.
If you’re interested in starting one, please contact email@example.com.
The size may range between 15 and 500, with the average being about 75.
What We Invest In
Grow Further projects will fall into three main goal areas:
- Improving nutrition, including improving the nutrient levels in agricultural products or facilitating the production of nutritious agricultural products. Increasing yield per acre or feed conversion ratios without attention to micro-nutrients fall within the broad category of improving nutrition but are not expected to be the primary focus of Grow Further.
- Climate adaptation, which encompasses a broad range of research. From a technical perspective, research on climate adaptation includes not only work on heat tolerance but also on almost all types of biotic (pests, diseases, weeds, etc.) and abiotic (heat, drought, salinity, submergence, cold, soil nutrient, etc.) stress. From an economic perspective, climate adaptation research is more or less the same as research that aims to reduce the risk of farming or help producers on marginal land.
- Farm income, particularly for low-income smallholders. For most farmers, small increases in the yields of low-value commodities will have marginal effects on income. As such, agricultural research projects that improve farm income are generally those that facilitate the production of high-value products or improve the quality of existing products, or in some cases lower the cost of production.
Grow Further will focus on research on species relevant to food and nutrition security, including:
- Edible roots and tubers
- Edible mushrooms;
- Forage crops
- Animals raised for meat, milk, and/or eggs; and
- Species that support food production (cover crops, bees, draft animals, etc.)
Grow Further will consider projects from a variety of disciplines, including:
- Crop science
- Plant protection
- Animal science
- Veterinary medicine
- Soil science
- Agricultural engineering
- Information technology in agriculture
We prioritize projects that promote environmental sustainability, including increasing organic matter levels in soil, saving water, reducing chemical use, preserving genetic diversity, or even in some contexts increasing yields to reduce the need for cultivated land.
We are most interested in projects that can show results relatively quickly (< 3-5 years). Generally speaking, the development of software can be done most quickly, and testing devices and techniques is faster than developing them, with breeding crops and livestock taking the longest.
Initial projects will be in a 5-digit annual budget range each. Later projects will be a bit larger, but not huge because agricultural science has lower budgets than other types of science, and funding small projects that might have been overlooked is where Grow Further can add the most value to society.
Grow Further will generally support applied field-based research, including on-farm trials, rather than basic laboratory research.
For scaling up technologies, we will leverage private-sector commercialization, government agricultural extension services, or Grow Further-affiliated impact investment funds rather than philanthropic capital.
- Fiber crops
- Fiber-producing livestock; crops grown for recreational substances; ornamental plants; or herbs, flavorings, or other items unless there is a clear connection to food security.
- Pro or anti-GMO advocacy
Grow Further will de-prioritize work on increasing yields under ideal conditions the four major grains:
As this is a well-researched area.
Communications are much like those in an angel investment group and depend on what if any committees a member joins. Members who serve on relevant committees will receive and comment on written grant applications, reports, and so on, and discuss them with other members and experts, and will also have direct communications with agricultural scientists.
Projects are curated by experts, selected by members among a list of reasonable options, and then approved by the board (typically as a matter of course, but the Board of Directors retains ultimate authority over all investment decisions).
Selection will be guided by three factors:
- Relevance. Grow Further’s work is most relevant in contexts with low-income smallholder farmers who have reasonably secure land titles.
- Enabling environment. This includes the number and training of agricultural scientists, the ability of partner institutions to assist with monitoring and evaluation and take results to scale, the ability of farmers to effectively use results (e.g., transportation, credit, access to smartphones, etc. as applicable), relevant regulations, and the overall business and security environment.
- Member interest and connection. Many of our members may have friends or family in the regions appropriate for Grow Further investment and can thus bring unique local knowledge and cultural awareness. Grow Further will also consider the likelihood of establishing local chapters in the future.
In addition to supporting the future of food security, the main benefits include learning, networking, gaining experience with evaluating innovative ideas as part of a team, opportunities to travel and meet people outside of one’s social circle, etc. In a few cases, members may be interested in investing in private companies that take supported innovations to market.
We offer three Membership Tiers:
- Investment Partner: 5,000+ USD/year
- Co-Investment Partner: 2,500 USD/year
- Supporting Partner: 50 USD/month
We also offer a Student Membership at 10 USD/ month. Members may choose to invest more depending on their preferences and interests.
As much time as a member would enjoy. Our model relies on members bringing a diversity of skillsets and levels of engagement.
Joining and Onboarding
Click here for our Membership Application online form. We will follow up with you upon completion.
Knowledge of agriculture, international development, different cultures, and angel investment are all helpful but not required. The group is a place to learn, so there are no specific requirements for general membership, though we do reserve the right to decline applications. Certain committees do have specific qualifications.
Yes, we will briefly review Grow Further’s operation, history, and values, and there will also be an introduction to specific technical topics related to the group you are joining.
As with an angel investment group, there will likely be monthly regular meetings during a school-year cycle plus ad hoc committee meetings, social events, educational events, and so on. Following one-on-one onboarding, there will most likely be opportunities to get involved with the group within 1-4 weeks.