$5 million in sustainable ag funds available

VERMONT — Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, known as SARE, is accepting preproposals to distribute $5 million in funding across its three largest grant programs: Research and Education, Research for Novel Approaches, and Professional Development Grants

Funding in these areas begins at $30,000 and can be as much as $250,000 for projects growing the future of sustainable agriculture in the Northeast. The deadline to submit preproposals is 5 p.m. EST on Aug. 2.

All three grant programs currently accepting preproposals are open to anyone who works with farmers. Professional Development Grants are also open to those who work with service providers that serve the agricultural community. Typical projects range from 2-3 years and all projects must be completed by Nov. 30, 2026.

The Northeast region includes Vermont and the rest of New England, as well as Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Northeast SARE has allocated $2.25 million for Research and Education Grant projects in 2023. Research and Education Grants range from $30,000 to $250,000 and fund projects that result in gains in farmer knowledge, awareness, skills and attitudes that are then applied to make measurable on-farm changes leading to greater sustainability.

Research and Education projects include an education program for farmers that seeks to achieve a “performance target” that describes the changes in practices, behaviors or conditions among farmers expected to result from the proposed project.

Northeast SARE has allocated $1.75 million for Research for Novel Approaches Grant projects in 2023. Research for Novel Approaches Grants range from $30,000 to $200,000 and fund “proof of concept” projects intended to confirm the benefit and/or feasibility of new practices and approaches that have high potential for adoption by farmers.

These practices and approaches may be related to production, marketing, business management, human resource management and other social issues, or other topics related to sustainable agriculture.

Northeast SARE has allocated $1 million for Professional Development Grant projects in 2023. Professional Development Grants range from $30,000 to $150,000 and fund train-the-trainer projects that develop the knowledge, awareness, skills and attitudes among the full range of service providers who work with farmers, including agricultural professionals who teach, advise and assist farmers about sustainable agriculture practices and strategies as well as non-agricultural service providers (e.g., attorneys, lenders, etc.) that work with farmers.

These service providers then use the knowledge, awareness, skills, and attitudes they gain in their work with farmers.


Preproposals are preliminary concept documents evaluated by independent review teams made up of farmers, researchers, nonprofit staff, and agricultural service providers. Reviewers evaluate proposals on a scale of 1 to 5 and assign a single score to the preproposal based on the extent to which it addressed review criteria.

Roughly one-third to one-half of preproposals are invited to submit full proposals and about one-third of full proposals are approved for funding by the Northeast SARE Administrative Council.

Both invited and not-invited applicants receive feedback from reviewers. Northeast SARE reviewer feedback is an invaluable resource for any organization looking to write grants related to sustainable agriculture.

Northeast SARE will be examining its grant programs and procedures as part of its Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Strategic Plan. To accommodate that work, these grant programs may not reopen for preproposals in 2023.

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