Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Micro-Grant eligibility expanded to all Adirondack farms, value-added producers 

Tangleroot Farm

Adirondack Council’s Micro-Grants for Adirondack Farms and Value-Added Producers will offer grants of up to $8,000 this year to support sustainable and innovative projects on working lands within the Park.  This is the eighth consecutive year that the Council’s Essex Farm Institute has offered micro-grants to support local farms, local food production and a sustainable local economy.

Prior to 2022, grants had not exceeded $5,000, with most awarded in the $1,500 range. The grant application was updated for the 2023 cycle to provide resources for larger operations (including farms transitioning to sustainable management) as well as those projects involving collaborations between or among farmers and value-added producers who are using 50% or more of their inputs from the region. The 2023 guidelines have also been updated to provide clarity with respect to eligibility criteria and awards a preference for historically-underserved or socially-disadvantaged applicants, the Council noted.

“Farm businesses and value-added producers represent a hub for innovations that reduce the ecological impact associated with the agricultural goods our communities depend on” said Adirondack Council Director of Conservation, Jackie Bowen. “Our grant program empowers producers to invest in technologies, systems, and production methods that protect the unique natural resources within the Park, while also taking steps to reduce our impact on global climate change.” 

Dillon Klepetar, the Adirondack Council’s Farm Advocate said: “we would love to see more of the economic and environmental potential behind the Buy Local movement to stay here in the Adirondacks.” As such, the organization will be considering joint applications from farmers working with makers and crafters of all kinds to create truly local products using sustainable methods. Klepetar noted: “a viable agricultural economy requires cooperation, and occasionally investments, to bridge the farm-consumer gap. Our 2023 program will be funding individual farms or businesses as well as collaborative projects that have sustainability baked into the supply chain.”

As the Adirondack Park’s largest environmental advocacy organization, the Adirondack Council recognizes the vital role agriculture plays in meeting climate goals, sustaining the health of natural resources and fostering economically vibrant communities from the ground up. It adopted the Essex Farm Institute (EFI) to ensure that local farmers would have assistance in reducing costs (fuel, fertilizer, electric power, waste removal) by adopting or inventing sustainable, environmentally friendly methods.

 Micro-grants will be used to fund a wide variety of farm projects this year that include equipment, supplies and labor associated with energy efficiency, alternative power, sustainable infrastructure, and climate-smart management practices on Adirondack working lands. This year’s grant program will also be accepting joint proposals from local producers and processors to bridge the gap between raw agricultural products and the food, beverage, fiber or wood products market in the Adirondack Park. 

The Klipper Family Fund established, and continues to support, this impactful project that has spurred long-lasting environmental solutions at nearly every stage of the local food system: from production, processing, and storage to sales and distribution. In total, the Adirondack Council’s EFI Micro-Grant program has awarded over $170,000 to support 115 projects since it began in 2016. 

Grants and Application Deadline:

For the 2023 cycle, competitive awards will be made in all three of the following levels:

Tier 1: up to $1,500 for projects on small farms or value-added producers so that those businesses might adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change, or improve or restore environmental health. 

Tier 2: Larger businesses – those with greater acreage, employees or gross sales — will be eligible to apply for more competitive $3,000 grants. 

Tier 3: Grant applications that feature partnerships between farms or value-added businesses who are tackling sustainability efforts at a community scale may apply for up to $8,000 in funding to offset projects. For instance, projects that empower several businesses to collaborate on addressing an environmental issue by sharing resources, technologies, equipment or tools will be eligible for additional funding. Proposed projects will be scored against one another competitively regardless of the applicant’s tier.

Applications are due by April 10th, 2023. To apply, please click here. 

Oregano Flats farm

Squash, corn and beans grow together at Oregano Flats Farm in Saranac, NY, Photo by Ben Stechschulte for Essex Farm Institute

Funded projects will demonstrate an objective environmental benefit, which may include improving soil health or water quality, reducing carbon emissions, conserving energy, or other environmentally healthy and sustainable farming or processing efforts.  Preference will also be given to applicants identifying as a traditionally underserved population or projects that address social or economic inequities among business owners and/or their employees.

Eligible applicants are commercial farms within the Park and value-added producers who use a majority of inputs that originate from within the Adirondack Park. For projects involving 3 or more collaborating entities, each entity named must be eligible by the same general criteria.

The mission of the Essex Farm Institute is to advocate for, support, and promote resilient, diversified farms that strengthen the health of natural and human communities in the Adirondacks.
EFI envisions resilient Adirondack agricultural lands that promote ecological integrity* across the Adirondack Park; that mitigate and adapt to climate change; and foster vibrant communities through an equitable, profitable, and accessible regional food system.

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. The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant communities.

The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy, and legal action. Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States.

The Essex Farm Institute is supported by the Adirondack Council with generous support from the Klipper Fund.

Above photo: Tangleroot Farm is a 20-acre organic CSA farm in Essex whose shareholder members receive a weekly selection of 6 or 7 organic vegetable selections and much more. – photo credit: Tangleroot Farm

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.

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