In celebration of Earth Day 2022, the Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization today awarded 15 micro-grants totaling $32,000 to local farmers and value-added food producers, in an effort to build a climate-friendly local economy in the Adirondack Park.
It was the seventh consecutive year that the Adirondack Council has awarded micro-grants to farmers and small business owners who want to reduce their environmental impact and adapt to a changing climate. This year’s grant criteria were modified to accommodate both larger operations as well as projects featuring collaborations between several qualified applicants.
“The Adirondack Park’s clean water, clean air, wildlife, wilderness and communities are threatened by climate change. We want to help farmers throughout the Adirondack region to be climate friendly, energy efficient and more sustainable,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “Investing in our local food system now can bring benefits for years to come.”
“The range of applications demonstrated that Adirondack entrepreneurs are not only business leaders, but are also striving to tackle some of the Park’s most threatening environmental problems such as habitat loss, soil erosion, water pollution and especially climate change,” said Dillon Klepetar, Director of the Essex Farm Institute, a project of the Adirondack Council. “Awarded projects focused on innovation in every stage of the farming system: production, harvest, storage, processing, sale and distribution.”
Full and By Farm. Photo credit: Ben Stechschulte.
Among them are several installations of solar and electric alternatives to carbon-based energy while others focused on the sequestration and remediation of environmental contaminants in the water or atmosphere. Altogether, the proposed projects demonstrate how relatively small financial investments can have an outsized impact on the Park’s natural resources, agricultural lands, and can serve as a model for other rural communities.
The micro-grant program has now awarded $190,937 in the last seven years to support over one hundred local projects in the Adirondack Park, helping to preserve natural resources, enhance environmentally beneficial farming practices, produce healthy local food, and reduce energy use.
This year, the Council received 36 complete applications seeking over $65,000 in support. Adirondack Council staff and Essex Farm Institute committee members were assisted by Aaron Thomas and Becca Halter of the Adirondack Land Trust, and retired Adirondack Council Director of Research and Education Mike DiNunzio in its application review and evaluation process.
“The successful micro-grant program has been made possible by the generous support of the Klipper Family Fund and other donors,” said Janeway. “These grants are laying the foundation for the Adirondack Park’s low-carbon future. We thank them for their faith in us and this innovative grant program.”
“We’re both very moved by the effort put into these applications and by the need for funding among local farmers,” said Courtney Klipper, co-founder of the Klipper Fund. “We realize there are many worthy projects. We increased the total grant amounts to make the choices less agonizing. But with so many great ideas proposed, the process is never really easy.”
One of the services Hub on the Hill provides is to process food products in its commercial kitchen, which it also rents out. Photo by Adirondack Explorer reporter Mike Lynch, archive photo.
“A lively selection process tells us that there is still great interest in these grants and a continuing need to fund innovation that leads to conservation,” said Nathaniel Klipper, co-founder of the Klipper Fund. “Local farmers are especially good at identifying ways to make their operations greener and more efficient. We are very pleased to help some of them achieve those goals each spring.”
The Micro-Grant program “challenges the conventional wisdom that profitability and environmental stewardship are at odds with one another” said Klepetar, Adirondack Farm Advocate of the Essex Farm Institute. He added, “our program recognizes the outstanding leadership of livelihood farmers and value-added producers who are developing solutions to address local and global ecological challenges.”
The 2022 Grantees are:
Triple Green Jade Farm,Willsboro: $1500 to support the purchase of an electric utility vehicle for on-farm usage
Adirondack View Vineyard, Keeseville: $1500 to install an electric distillation system for lavender essential oil
Crown Point Farm & Dairy, Crown Point: $1500 to install a recovery tank for reusing water needed to cool milk
Mace Chasm Farm, Keeseville: $1500 to purchase a tree spade for planting silvopasture nut/seed/tree crops
Green Street Family Farm & Sawmill, Keeseville: $1500 to install solar powered greenhouse exhaust and intake fans
Berube Botanicals, Vermontville: $1500 to build greenhouse end-walls to promote expansion of food and medicinal products
North Country Creamery, Keeseville: $1500 to hire an electrician to oversee installation of a 75kW photovoltaic system
Essex Farm | Wrisley Family Farm | Adirondack Hay and Grains | Fledging Crow Vegetables, Champlain Valley: $8000 towards the purchase of aRoller Crimper (cover-crop termination implement) to be shared among farmers
Juniper Hill Farm, Wadhams: $3000 to support the purchase of tree-planting implements to establish a riparian buffer along the Boquet River
Hub on the Hill, Essex: $3000 to support the installation of roof-mounted solar hot water preheater for shared-use kitchen
Full and By Farm, Essex: $1500 towards the purchase of an electric log splitter to replace borrowed gas-powered two-stroke splitter for firewood
Black Kettle Farm, Essex: $1500 toinstall and test a system that uses submerged biochar to remove excess fertilizer in lakes in streams
Open Gate Farmstead, Keeseville: $1500 towards the establishment of aneducational “you-pick” center focusing on native/medicinal plants and climate resilient watering systems
Norman Ridge Farmstead LLC, Vermontville: $1500 to build anexpanded farm store to increase sales of grass-fed meat in the rural community
Twin Hill Farms LLC, Paul Smiths: $1500 to install solar power generation that powers an indoor propagation space
The Adirondack Park is a 9,300-square-mile patchwork of public and private lands that comprise the largest park in the contiguous United States. Its public lands are protected from logging and development by New York’s Constitution. Private lands consist of commercial timberlands, resorts, estates, businesses and homes, in and around 130 rural communities, nine of which are incorporated villages. The park has 130,000 year-round residents and hosts 12 million annual visitors.
The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. It is the largest environmental organization whose sole focus is the Adirondacks. In 2022, the Council is expanding its staff, as well as its research, education, advocacy and legal programs. It envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, working farms and forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, and safe communities. Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States.
Photo at top: Sweet potato harvest at Juniper Hill Farm in Wadhams, NY, photo by Ben Stechschulte, archive photo.
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What a waste of money. None of the grants will impact the environment. It would have been better spent in Albany to pass laws that help farmers afford to survive in NY. How about some permanent big tax cuts for farmers trying to use alternative energy?