Volcani Center Announces $4.8 Million Grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust

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The Volcani Center announced today that it is the recipient of $4.8 million in funding from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, a U.S.-based philanthropy. The grant will be used to fund a model farm in northern Israel dedicated to creating, testing and teaching sustainable farming practices.

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We are exceedingly grateful for this generous support from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which will allow Volcani to implement this one-of-a-kind model farm in northern Israel.

The Volcani Center today proudly announced that it has secured $4.8 million in funding from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. This generous support is dedicated to establishing a model farm for developing, testing and demonstrating sustainable agricultural practices from which others can learn successful techniques for high-yield, productive farming that uses minimal resources while maintaining soil health.

The model sustainable farm, which will be located in northern Israel, will be the first of its kind in the country. With approximately 100 acres of land, the farm’s sheer magnitude renders it unique among experimental farms, which are generally much smaller. The scale will allow Volcani’s researchers to evaluate farming methods for both economic and environmental outcomes, as environmentally sustainable farming methods need to be financially feasible in order for farmers to adopt them.

“Israel’s food security is second to none, which is all the more remarkable considering the arid land it has available for farming. Through innovation and ingenuity, the country has become a world leader in modern farm practices,” said Sandor Frankel, a Trustee at the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “Volcani’s model farm will provide a center of learning for others in the country and from around the world for highly-productive, sustainable farming.”

Through a collaboration with the Israel Farmers’ Union, Volcani’s model farm will host trainings, seminars and workshops to ensure farmers are always up-to-date on the latest practical research. And, while the farm is designed with Israeli farmers in mind, Volcani’s research will be applicable to farmers growing food in arid environments around the world.

“We are exceedingly grateful for this generous support from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which will allow Volcani to implement this one-of-a-kind model farm in northern Israel,” said Volcani Center General Director Prof. Eli Feinerman. “With world-renowned scientists and a proven track record for innovative research and applied agricultural strategies, the Volcani Center is uniquely positioned to advance the quest for successful sustainable agricultural practices, for Israel and the world.”

To date, though highly productive, Israeli agriculture practices often rely on conventional farming methods. Conventional methods are often harmful and destructive for the soil, while sustainable methods that would ensure future viability of the land can be prohibitively expensive.

The model farm will be supported by Volcani’s on-site laboratory, which will expedite testing that could otherwise take several years, enabling the on-farm research and learning to be immediately available for farmers to apply. The model farm is expected to begin operations in the spring of 2018.

This is the second Helmsley grant to the Volcani Center. Their first grant, for $3.2 million, supported research projects at the Volcani Gilat Research Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Agriculture, in Israel’s southern Negev desert.

About the Volcani Center
The Volcani Center is Israel’s leading and largest agricultural research center. As the driving force behind Israel’s world-renowned agricultural innovations, the Volcani Center is responsible for more than 75% of the country’s developments in this field. Volcani was established in 1921, before the State of Israel, and today, Volcani leverages its unique multi-disciplinary expertise and innovation capacity to build bridges of peace and address global challenges. To learn more about the Volcani Center, visit http://www.agri.gov.il/en/home/default.aspx.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grant making in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $2 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes.

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