Adirondack Council awards 10 farm micro-grants
ALBANY — The Adirondack Council awarded 10 micro-grants totaling over $32,000 to farmers Wednesday in an effort to address what it called the greatest short-term and long-term threats to public health in the Adirondack Park: COVID-19 and climate change.
“COVID-19 is causing rapid changes to the ways local farms engage with their customers,” said Adirondack Council Conservation Associate Jackie Bowen, who coordinates the grant program with help from the environmental advocacy group’s Essex Farm Institute. “In some cases, they 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. Others are changing their business models entirely and need transitional assistance until the new business can be established.”
Three micro-grants have been awarded to local farmers seeking financial assistance during COVID-19. Seven are environmental projects.
This year, the Adirondack Council sent out a request for proposals from farmers on March 5 and extended the deadline to accommodate concerns and delays caused by COVID-19. The Council received 46 grant requests seeking a total of $209,000.
The 2020 grantees are as follows (ENV = environmental award; C-19 = COVID-related).
¯ ADK Food Hub, Tupper Lake: (ENV) $5,000 to purchase a solar-powered mini-split air-conditioning unit and coolbot (device that turns a room and an A/C unit into a walk-in refrigerator). The heat recovery unit will capture waste heat from the A/C and transfer it to a water heater tank for hot water use. The coolbot will double storage capacity to meet increased local food demands.
¯ DaCy Meadow Farm, Westport: (C-19) $5,000 to purchase supplies such as cooler bags, freezer packs and a commercial oven to meet the increased demand on the farm’s prepared and delivered meal service as a result of COVID-19.
¯ Fledging Crow Vegetables, Keeseville: (C-19) $5,000 to provide assistance to meet increased expenses of more employees living on the farm for two-week quarantines after working at New York City farmers markets and to purchase masks, gloves and other safety gear for employees.
¯ Echo Farm, Essex: (C-19) $4,492 to cover operating expenses that can no longer be met as a result of COVID-19 and to support the farm’s transition to providing CSA shares for the community.
¯ Essex Farm, Essex: (ENV) $3,000 to construct electrified permanent fencing for grazing sheep and cattle. The fencing will allow the animals to be rotated daily within the pasture, which will increase soil health and enhance carbon-capturing properties of the plants.
¯ Full and By Farm, Essex: (ENV) $3,000 to continue the construction of a highly energy-efficient greenhouse with the smallest plastic footprint, designed with engineering students from Clarkson University, by running electric lines, burying a water line, and pouring a properly drained foundation.
¯ Adirondack Hay & Grains, Essex: (ENV) $2,500 to purchase Trimble FMX GPS hardware to survey and install water management improvements such as tile, ditches and land leveling, with the goal to reduce water runoff.
¯ Forever Wild Apothecary, Lake Placid: (ENV) $1,500 to install semi-permanent solar goat fencing, solar drip irrigation with solar water pump, and a greenhouse with a solar fan to support the growth and production of locally sourced herbs, herbal products, soaps and other products.
¯ Mace Chasm Farm, Keeseville: (ENV) $1,500 to diversify the farm’s land use by planting pear, hybrid plum and black locust tree crops. The fruit will provide fresh local fruits grown with organic practices to the community. The black locust will help add more nitrogen to the soil while in the ground and will later provide rot-resistance lumber for the farm.
¯ Oregano Flats Farm, Saranac: (ENV) $1,500 to replace diesel-burning tractor implements with electric tools, such as harrow and tiller, to minimize fossil fuel emissions and support the farm’s aim to permanently cease all use of fossil fuels on the farm in 2020.