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NEWS Adirondack Council's Essex Farm Institute Awards 16 microgrants to local farms and businesses to support sustainable local food network

Annual Farm Micro-Grants Help Celebrate Earth Week in the Adirondacks, Boost Sustainable Economy 

Adirondack Council Continues Support for Working Landscapes 

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. – In celebration of Earth Day 2024, the Adirondack Council today awarded 16 micro-grants totaling $24,500 to local farmers and value-added food/beverage/fiber producers. The initiative is an effort to support climate-friendly economic activity inside the Adirondack Park.  

The Essex Farm Institute, 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.  It also helps the Adirondack Council identify farmers and small business owners who want to reduce their environmental impact and adapt to a changing climate.  

“It is incredible to think that this program has awarded more than $240,000 to worthy local recipients since it began in 2016,” said Adirondack Council’s Executive Director Raul J. Aguirre. “Well-managed farms and climate-friendly businesses make the Adirondack Park a better, more sustainable place to live.”  

“Farmers are in it for the long-haul” said Dillon Klepetar who is the Adirondack Council’s Farm Advocate and director of the Essex Farm Institute. “Taken together, these projects represent a certain dedication that will leave the landscape and soil in better condition for the next generation.”  

Among this year’s funded projects include efforts to encourage no-till farming (to control erosion); a pilot project for eliminating oil-based plastics in food vacuum-packaging; tree planting to retain water; solar-powered irrigation and livestock fencing systems; composting facilities and support for organically managed commercial bee hives for apple and grape production, among others. 

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, Klepetar said.   

This year’s application drew proposals from almost two dozen small and mid-size enterprises as well as several projects focused on local value-added processing of raw agricultural goods.  The Council received applications totaling $43,379.48. 

The Essex Farm Institute’s review of grant applications was assisted by an internal committee of three full-time staff. 

“The successful micro-grant program has been made possible by the generous support of the Klipper Fund and other forward-thinking donors,” said Aguirre. “Together, we have accomplished a lot for local farming and a sustainable local economy.”  

“It is gratifying to think that the program we helped to begin almost 10 years ago has now awarded nearly a quarter million dollars to sustainable local farming and business,” said Courtney Klipper, co-founder of the Klipper Fund.  “We hope this serves as a lifeline for those who need assistance to make their operations greener and as an inspiration to people living in other special places around the world to create similar support programs. They really make a difference.” 

“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. “Through this program, 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 “is an investment that will strengthen the resiliency of local agricultural economies” said Klepetar. “And that’s not something we cannot afford to delay.”  

The 2024 grantees are:  


  • Full and By Farm, Essex: $1,500.00 Transition to a no-till system 
  • Reber Rock, Essex: $2,000.00 Pilot switch to plastic-free vacuum packaging 
  • Wollecru, Westport: $1,500.00 Eliminate fossil fuels from natural dye system  
  • Craigardan, Elizabethtown: $1,500.00 Remove dams from previous logging operation  
  • North Country Creamery, Keeseville: $1,500.00 Plant 700 trees to capture rainwater  
  • Meadow Farmstead, Jay: $1,500.00 Purchase occultation tarps to reduce tillage  
  • Crown Point Farm & Dairy, Crown Point: $1,500.00 Capture and utilize rainwater for fields 
  • Cook Farm, Owls Head: $1,500.00 Solar irrigation system in the farm's high tunnel. 
  • Meadow & Mountain Farm, Moriah: $1,500.00 Electric garland maker; cover crop 
  • Black Kettle Farm, Essex: $1,500.00 Manage orchard alleys using draft horses. 
  • Big Dipper Farm, Westport: $1,500.00 Solar fence charger and electric sheep nets 
  • Diane Sivigny Farm, Ellenburg: $1,500.00 Heated pump house  


  • Blue Line Compost, Saranac Lake: $1,500.00 Purchase large, wheeled compost bins  
  • River Valley Regeneratives, Redford: $1,500.00 Hot water system to clean compost bins 
  • Miss Bee Haven Apiary, Jay: $1,500.00 Apiary installations with organic mite treatment 
  • Farmers Cone Creamery, Essex: $1,500.00 Energy efficiency and less water use 

Established in 1975, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded, not-for-profit environmental advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The 9,300-square-mile Adirondack Park is one of the largest intact temperate deciduous forest ecosystems left in the world. The Adirondacks are home to about 130,000 New York residents in 130 rural communities. 

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities.

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

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