| SARE targets many resources to farmers who, like New Hampshiregarlic farmer Naomi Scanlon, pursue a variety of marketing channels.|
Photo by Melissa Hemken
Northeast SARE is expanding—on top of the five grantofferings alreadyin place, the region now offers support for holistic, long-termresearch into the agroecology of farming systems and recently added aprogram, already in place in other regions, for graduate students whowant to research key topics in sustainable agriculture. All programscontinue to address issues facing Northeast farmers: climate change,farmland conservation, sustainable food production, communitydevelopment, profitable marketing techniques, and conserving andproducing energy on the farm.
Adding new grant programs is a little bit like having agrowing family:Northeast SARE suddenly has new constituents, new focus areas and newcommunications challenges. This is why a new full-time staff positionsupports outreach specifically for the region’s “mini-grant”offerings—the Farmer, Partnership, Community and Graduate StudentGrants—and also why the region now offers more grant writing workshops,including workshops held on the campuses of the historically black 1890land grant institutions. The result is a marked increase inpre-proposals this past summer, many of very high quality.
As Northeast SARE expands its constituencies, it is also focusing onindividual states and their capacity for outreach. The Northeast may begeographically small, but its agricultural profile is complex—farmstend to be more diverse, closer to urban markets and often involvedwith direct marketing or cooperative economic models like CSAs. Strongstate programs need responsive, vibrant and decentralized networkswhere information flows both ways, with news about SARE going out intothe community and news about the community flowing back to SARE. Thiseffort is an integral part of the region’s Professional DevelopmentProgram, and 11 of the 13 states in the Northeast have used SARE fundsto support part-time staff or to share dedicated staff with aneighboring state.