SARANAC LAKE — A new grant program targeting North Country farmers will accept proposals until Saturday, Nov. 30.
The Adirondack North Country Association, or ANCA, launched the $100,000 Local Farm Grant program to fund projects that will strengthen local farms and food businesses.
"Farming is a financially challenging occupation, especially in northern regions like ours," ANCA Local Economies and Agriculture Director Josh Bakelaar said in a news release.
"Investments in our farms and local food system can make the difference between these businesses just barely surviving and thriving.”
The independent nonprofit has a 14-county region, including Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Oneida, Oswego, Warren and Washington counties.
Within those counties, ANCA works to create opportunity for people with diverse backgrounds, experience and education levels.
To do so, a news release says, the not-for-profit uses an integrated approach to sustainable economic development and prosperity where economic health, community vitality and ecological stewardship are equally important outcomes.
'BRIDGE THESE GAPS'
The Local Farm Grant will be open for farmers, food entrepreneurs, food hubs and cooperatives of ANCA's 14-county area.
Eligible projects include those that address gaps in the food chain supply chain, increase opportunity for value-added processing or secure business development services.
Grant requests can range from $2,500 to $45,000.
“We find that farmers are often unable to find adequate or appropriate financing to fund projects that are critical for their business growth,” Bakelaar says in the release.
“ANCA wants to help bridge these gaps to strengthen farm enterprises and ultimately the local economies that these farms and food businesses support.”
According to the release, the grant program will be funded in full via anonymous donors of ANCA's fourth annual Bike the Barns event, which was held Sept. 29.
Those donors, inspired by the farms along the route, committed $100,000 to go to the local farmers by way of the Local Farm Grant, the release says.
"(They) challenged ANCA's community to match that amount to support the nonprofit's mission," the release says.
ANCA Executive Director Kate Fish said the nonprofit was grateful for the gift and the passion.
"This 'Local Farm Challenge' will not only help local farms thrive, but will provide critical support for ANCA's ongoing work in clean energy, local food and the entrepreneurial economy," Fish said in the release.
More information on the Local Farm Grant program can be found online at www.adirondack.org/localfarmgrant.
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