ALBANY — The Adirondack Council has awarded $32,000 in micro-grants to local farmers in an effort to address threats to public health due to both COVID-19 and climate change.
“COVID-19 and climate change each have the potential to devastate Adirondack communities,” Adirondack Council Conservation Associate Jackie Bowen said in a statement.
Bowen coordinates the grant program with help from the council's Essex Farm Institute, according to an Adirondack Council press release.
She noted that the pandemic is causing rapid changes to how farmers engage with 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 council received 46 grant requests; 10 finalists were selected.
Seven of the micro-grants funded environmental projects.
Those include solar-powered refrigeration, storm water 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.
Courtney and Nat Klipper are co-founders of the Klipper Family Fund, which helped to establish and continues to support the council's micro-grant program.
“Removing fossil fuels from local farming will help farmers control costs while curbing climate change,” Courtney said.
“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.”
Three more micro-grants were awarded to local farmers seeking financial assistance due to COVID-19.
Those funds will go toward the purchase of supplies for a farm-run meal service and delivery of prepared meals to local households, the purchase of personal protective equipment for employees and supporting a farm's transition to providing community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares to its community.
"These grants will help farmers continue to be viable during the COVID-19 crisis while helping get local food to local people," the press release said.
Farms that received funding for environmental projects were:
• Adirondack Hay & Grains in Essex, $2,500.
• ADK Food Hub in Tupper Lake, $5,000.
• Essex Farm in Essex, $3,000.
• Forever Wild Apothecary in Lake Placid, $1,500.
• Full and By Farm in Essex, $3,000.
• Mace Chasm Farm in Keeseville, $1,500.
• Oregano Flats Farm in Saranac, $1,500.
Farms who received financial assistance due to COVID-19 were:
• DaCy Meadow Farm in Westport, $5,000.
• Echo Farm in Essex: (C-19), $4,492.
• Fledging Crow Vegetables in Keeseville, $5,000.