Violet Stone

New York SARE Coordinator Violet Stone is helping farmers scale up from direct markets to wholesale markets. Learn more about SARE in New YorkPhoto by Craig Cramer, Cornell University

Urban agriculture is not a new concept, but it is getting more attention these days. The social component to urban farming has a lot of value, even if the volumes of food involved may not be large. These include increased access to healthy, affordable food, expanding green spaces and community participation that builds social capital. Further, urban agriculture raises awareness about the larger food system, which spans cities and countrysides.

In recent years Northeast SARE has funded some very successful urban ag projects. For example, The Farm Alliance of Baltimore City, which in its first two years harvested 38,902 pounds of products, coordinated 10,983 volunteer hours, generated $165,756 in sales and hosted 5,334 students and youth on member farms.

In New York City, The Brooklyn Grange used 2.5 acres of rooftops to grow market vegetables that were sold fresh to the community. The project also composted over 150,000 pounds of organic waste on a nearby lot in a navy yard.

Sustainable Urban Development in West Philadelphia created a guide to help residents increase their access to fresh, healthy and affordable food by reclaiming vacant lots in the city and building for-profit urban farms.

As part of their state plan of work, SARE coordinators in Rhode Island and Connecticut are engaged in a project that provides training to 25 urban farmers on crop production techniques, soil health, nutrient management, crop rotation, cover crops and pest control.

Grants Awarded in the Northeast

The following is a summary of SARE funding in the Northeast. State-by-state grant data is also available. To learn about SARE-funded activities and opportunities in Northeastern states, visit our state program pages. Visit the projects database to search individual projects by type, topic, state and other criteria.

Grant Proposals and Awards, 2014-2015

Grant Type
Preproposals
Received1
Full Proposals
Invited
Full Proposals
Received
Proposals
Funded
Funding
Total
Research and Education 153 53 45 19 $2.6 million
Professional Development 32 21 20 12 $1.2 million
Farmer/Rancher N/A N/A 109 44 $532,410
On-Farm Partnership N/A N/A 119 56 $782,633
Graduate Student N/A N/A 106 43 $612,477
1 The use of a preproposal process varies by region. It serves to screen project ideas for the larger and more complex grant programs, to reduce applicants’ proposal preparation burden and the proposal review burden for SARE’s volunteer reviewers.

Total Grants Awarded in the Northeast, 1988-2015

Grant Type Grants Awarded Total Dollar Amount
Research and Education 347 $39.9 million
Professional Development 137 $10.7 million
Farmer/Rancher 732 $4.4 million
On-Farm Partnership 250 $2.9 million
Graduate Student 111 $1.6 million
Community Innovation 108 $1.4 million
Regional Total 1,685 $60.9 million

Finding Answers for an Emergent Oyster Farming Industry

As more oyster fishermen turn from catching wild oysters to farming them, basic information is needed to improve the efficiency and productivity of the industry. Some of those research needs are being met by SARE-funded projects bringing together farmers and Extension specialists.

Sustainable Cropping Systems for Northeastern Dairies

Initiated in 2010, a large-scale, multidisciplinary research effort to create more sustainable cropping systems for Northeastern dairy farmers has begun producing a wealth of information. The project compares two six-year no-till rotations and a standard corn/soybean rotation used as a control treatment, with comparisons of broadcast and injected manure treatments, as well as standard weed control and reduced herbicide treatments.

To Improve the Soil, First Know the Soil

Working with farmers, a Cornell University team developed a unique assessment that measures the health of soil according to physical, chemical and biological indicators. Assessment reports typically include recommendations for how farmers can improve soil health on their farm, for example by using cover crops, reduced tillage, compost, manure or diverse rotations. Interest in the assessment is growing beyond the Northeast.