Micro-grants available for farms, producers, value-added businesses

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Adirondack Council’s Micro-Grants program will offer up to $25,000 this year to support sustainable and innovative projects on working lands within the Adirondack Park.

This is the ninth 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.

The grant application was updated two years ago 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 2024 guidelines have also been updated to provide clarity with respect to eligibility criteria and awards preference for historically underserved or socially disadvantaged applicants.

“The backbone of our rural economy are the small businesses who are providing essential raw and value-added products like food, medicine, beverages, fiber and construction materials to our communities,” said Adirondack Council Director of Conservation Jackie Bowen. “We hope our funding will enable producers who are growing or sourcing locally to continue to make management decisions that are positive for the environment.”

“Our grant program is a no-brainer for the farmers, crafters and makers who are creating local inputs or who are working towards an Adirondack supply-chain,” Dillon Klepetar, the Adirondack Council’s farm advocate, said. “Producers are some of the hardest working people in the North Country, and so we’ve whittled our application submission time down to 45 minutes to keep farmers and makers engaged in their craft.”

This year the program also invites applications from farmers or value-added producers working collaboratively.

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 medicine product 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 $200,000 to North Country farmers and producers since it began in 2016.

Grants and Application Deadline: For the 2024 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 1.

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

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.


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