Monday, April 27, 2020

Micro-grant awards focus on farmers coping with COVID, climate change

farmers marketThe Adirondack Council awarded 10 micro-grants totaling over $32,000  to local farmers. According to a press release, the grants are an effort to address the greatest short-term and long-term threats to public health and the Adirondack Park: COVID-19 and climate change.

“COVID-19 and climate change each have the potential to devastate Adirondack communities,” says Adirondack Council Conservation Associate Jackie Bowen, the coordinator of the grant program alongside the Essex Farm Institute. In some cases, farms/food producers need to prepare more serve-at-home meals…others need equipment and funding to protect and sustain their employees who work in urban farmers markets.

The seven environmental projects being funded by the micro-grant program cover a variety of projects, such as solar-powered refrigeration, storm water runoff management, rotational livestock, grazing, solar-powered fencing and irrigating, super-efficient greenhouses, crop diversification and the replacing of diesel powered tractors with tools that won’t pollute the environment.

The other three micro-grants were awarded to local farmers who sought financial assistance during COVID-19, and the $13,500 awarded to them will be used to finance supplies for a farm-run meal service, in which pre-prepared meals will be delivered to local households. Funds will also be diverted to personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves for farm employees. The grants awarded will enable the farmers to remain viable during this public health crises.

Micro-grant awardees are as follows:

Adirondack Haw and Grains, Essex: $2,500 was awarded to purchase Trimble FMX GPS hardware to survey and install water management improvements to reduce water runoff.

ADK Food Hub, Tupper Lake: $5,000 was awarded to purchase a solar-powered mini-split A/C unit and coolbot. The heat recovery unit captures waste heat from the A/C and transfers it to a water heater tank for hot water use. The coolbot doubles storage capacity to meet the increased demand of local food.

DaCy Meadow Farm, Westport: $5,000 was awarded to purchase cooler bags, freezer packs, a commercial oven, and other supplies to meet an increased food demand on their prepared meal delivery service.

Echo Farm, Essex: $4,492 awarded to cover operating expenses that could no longer be met, and to support the farm’s transition to providing CSA shares.

Essex Farm, Essex: $3,000 awarded to construct electrified permanent fencing for grazing sheep and cattle, allowing the animals to be rotated daily and in turn increasing soil health and enhancing carbon-capturing properties of plants.

Fledging Crow Vegetables, Keeseville: $5,000 awarded to provide aid for the increased expenses of employees who live on the farm during two-week quarantine imposed on them after working NYC’s farmers markets, as well as to purchase PPE gear for employees.

Forever Wild Apothecary, Lake Placid: $1,500 awarded to install semi-permanent solar goat fencing, solar drip irrigation with solar water pump, and a greenhouse with a solar fan in order to support production of their herbs, herbal products, soap, and other products.

Full and By Farm, Essex: $3,000 awarded to continue the construction of their highly energy efficient greenhouse with the smallest plastic footprint possible, a design by engineering students from Clarkson.

Mace Chasm Farm, Keeseville: $1,500 awarded to diversify the farm’s land use by planting pear, hybrid plum and black locust tree crops, in order to provide fresh local fruit to the community and provide nitrogen to the soil and rot-resistant lumber.

Oregano Flats Farm, Saranac: $1,500 awarded to replace diesel-burning tractor implements with electric tools in order to minimize fossil fuel emissions and support the farm’s aim to cease all use of fossil fuels by the end of 2020.

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