Press Releases

Farm Micro-Grants Focus on Coping with Covid, Climate Change

Adirondack Council’s Essex Farm Institute, Klipper Fund, Hamill Foundation Award an Additional $37,492 in Grants

ALBANY, N.Y. – The Adirondack Council awarded 13 micro-grants totaling $37,492 to local farmers today 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 and climate change each have the potential to devastate Adirondack communities,” said Adirondack Council Conservation Associate Jackie Bowen, who coordinates the grant program with help from the Council’s Essex Farm Institute. “COVID-19 is causing rapid changes to the ways local farms engage with their customers. 

“In some cases, they need to prepare more serve-at-home meals,” Bowen said. “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.”

The eight environmental projects funded by the micro-grant program cover a range of projects including solar-powered refrigeration, stormwater runoff management, rotational livestock grazing, solar-powered fencing and irrigation, super-efficient greenhouses, crop diversification, and replacement of diesel tractors with non-polluting tools, Bowen said.

“Removing fossil fuels from local farming will help farmers control costs while curbing climate change,” said Courtney Klipper, co-founder of the Klipper Fund. “Most of the farms are in the Champlain Valley, where controlling runoff is very important to the health of Lake Champlain and everyone who depends on it.”

“Stormwater control, livestock fencing and rotational grazing are very effective environmental tools, but they are not cheap,” said Klipper Fund co-founder Nat Klipper. “Local farmers know what needs to be done. Too many lack the funding to do it. The Klipper Fund is pleased to have been part of this micro-grant program from its start in 2016.”

Five micro-grants have been awarded to local farmers seeking financial assistance during COVID-19. Approximately $17,492 will be used to purchase supplies for a farm-run meal service for delivery of prepared meals to local households. The funds will also go towards purchasing safety materials like masks and gloves for farm employees and supporting a farm’s transition to providing CSA shares to the local community. These grants will help farmers continue to be viable during the COVID-19 crisis while helping get local food to local people.

The Council’s Jackie Bowen said, “the micro-grant program has now awarded more than $129,000 in funding to farms and small businesses inside the Adirondack Park in five years, helping farmers remain in business, produce healthy local food, and sustaining the open space character of the Park’s Champlain Valley.”

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 (ENV = environmental award; C-19 = COVID-related):

  • 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.
  • ADK Food Hub, Tupper Lake: (ENV) $5,000 to purchase a solar-powered mini-split A/C 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 like 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 NYC farmers' markets and to purchase masks, gloves and other safety gear for employees.
  • 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.
  • 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, by running electric lines, burying a water line, and pouring a properly drained foundation.
  • Little Hills Farm, Westport: (C-19) $1,000 to increase food storage capacity by installing a new cooler and upgrading food safety handling principles to accommodate increasing demand brought on by COVID-19.
  • 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.
  • Small Town Cultures, Keene: (C-19) $2,000 to purchase produce and supplies due to the loss of a local wholesale opportunity and to supplement financial loss resulting from COVID-19.
  • Wild Work Farm, Keene Valley: (ENV) $2,000 to install a grow-light setup; and, install a remote temperature monitoring system for greenhouses and a walk-in cooler to minimize travel to the off-site farm, efficiently manage greenhouse temperatures and collect/track data.

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 Essex Farm Institute is a program of the Adirondack Council.

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.

For more information:

John Sheehan, Adirondack Council, 518-441-1340 cell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 22, 2020 EARTH DAY

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