Press Releases

Farm Micro-Grants Help Celebrate Earth Day in the Adirondacks & Boost Sustainable Economy

Adirondack Micro-Grants Bolster Sustainable Farm Projects
Adirondack Council Continues Support for Working Landscapes

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. – In celebration of Earth Day 2023, the Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization today awarded 12 micro-grants totaling $26,000 to local farmers and value-added food/beverage/fiber producers. The initiative is an effort to support climate-friendly economic activity in the Adirondack Park. 

The Essex Farm Institue, a project of the Adirondack Council supports local sustainable agriculture by working directly with farms and by advocating for soil health, habitat connectivity and climate change mitigation.  This is the eighth 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 application drew proposals from almost two dozen small and mid-size agricultural enterprises as well as projects featuring collaboration between farmers. 

“It has been a pleasure to see this program grow and develop,” said Adirondack Council’s Acting Executive Director Raul Aguirre. “Well-managed farms make the Adirondack Park a better place to live, for both people and wildlife.” 

“It is a critical time to build partnerships and resiliency in the local food system. Transforming our relationship to imported goods now will mean that our farms, forests and artisanal producers can bolster local economies across the region in the future,” said Dillon Klepetar who is the Adirondack Council’s Farm Advocate. “Agricultural producers in the North Country are up against incredible odds including supply chain and food processing issues, increasing costs for inputs like seeds and diesel, a labor shortage, and policies that favor industrial agriculture over family farms. Those actively working on the land need support from consumers as well as the nonprofit community.” 

Among this year’s funded projects are efforts to replace fossil fuel energy sources for on-farm needs; the production and distribution of local fertilizer/compost to improve soil health; upgrades to improve food and maple processing efficiency; and support for transitions toward rotational livestock grazing.
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 more than $200,000 since 2015, supporting over one hundred local projects in the Adirondack Park. Collectively these projects continue to preserve natural resources, enhance environmentally beneficial farming practices, produce healthy local food, and reduce energy use.

This year, the Council received 20 complete applications seeking almost $40,000 in support.  The Essex Farm Institute was assisted by Adam Dewbury, Director of the Local Food System Program for the Adirondack North Country Association and Hannah Grall who coordinates food security projects with ADK Action.
“The successful micro-grant program has been made possible by the generous support of the Klipper Family Fund and other generous donors,” said Aguirre. “Together, we have accomplished a lot for local farming and a sustainable local economy.” 

“The collaborative energy behind these funded projects is inspiring.” said Courtney Klipper, co-founder of the Klipper Fund.  “This year’s innovative work brings the community closer to closing the loop of local self-sufficiency in terms of energy, soil fertility, and intimately connecting consumers to the food that's being produced in their neighborhoods.” 

“The Klipper Family created the fund to help producers address financial, social and environmental goals of sustainable food systems in a comprehensive way,” said Klipper Fund co-founder Nathaniel Klipper, “so farmers can think bigger than their family’s bank account balance when it comes to investing in real progress for the Champlain Valley and the entire Adirondack Park.”

The Micro-Grant program “challenges the conventional wisdom that profitability and environmental stewardship are at odds with one another” said Klepetar. He added, “our program recognizes the outstanding leadership of farmers and value-added producers who steward the landscape and nurture its inhabitants.” 
The 2023 Grantees are: 
•    River Bottom Farm (Wadhams) - $1500 for installation of a solar-powered water pump to irrigate a 30’x96’ high tunnel. 
•    Norman Ridge Farmstead (Vermontville) - $3000 for perimeter fence materials for rotationally grazing cattle on an additional 75 acres. 
•    Mark Twain Maple Works (Saranac Lake) - $1500 to purchase a new maple finishing pan that will increase efficiency.  
•    Full & By Farm (Essex) - $1500 to install a hybrid electric heat pump water heater and retiring its propane-powered equivalent. 
•    River Valley Regeneratives LLC, Ben Wever Farm, Sugar House Creamery (Redford, Willsboro, Jay respectively) - $8,000 for raw materials to fabricate and set up mobile composting equipment including scientific instruments, a mobile-screening unit and a compost applicator to be shared among producers. 
•    Three Daughters Maple (Willsboro) - $1500 - to design and construct a reverse osmosis filter along with evaporator upgrades to reduce firewood consumption. 
•    Meadow & Mountain Farm (Moriah) - $1500 - to expand spruce, balsam and other evergreen plantations using a rented commercial tree planter and application of organic fertilizer.  
•    The Cook Farm (Owl’s Head) - $1500 – to purchase and utilize a small dump trailer to make and move compost without compaction. 
•    Creative Kitchen Garden (Westport) - $1500 - to establish a mass planting of 2,000 + native wildflowers.  
•    Craigardan (Elizabethtown) - $1500 – to create a public educational composting and growing system that is accessible to all members of the community. 
•    Open Gate Farmstead (Keeseville) - $1500 – to create mobile meat and breeding rabbit housing that improves soil conditioning and install solar powered light and rainwater collection system in the rabbitry. 
•    Blue Line Compost (Saranac Lake) - $1500 – to purchase 35-gallon trash cans with lids & wheels to expand mobile collection service to larger clients, and to reduce the vehicle trips required to gather waste. 
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 12.4 million annual visitors.
Established in 1975, 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.
The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. It envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities.  Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States. 

For more information: John Sheehan, Director of Communications, 518-441-1340

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