Community-Driven Sustainable Ag Projects Funded Throughout the South
GRIFFIN, Ga. – Over $90,000 in grants from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program was awarded to farmers, researchers, ag professionals, and community members throughout the South for their efforts in blending sustainable ag practices with community development strategies to increase and support farms, businesses, families and communities.
The 2010 Sustainable Community Innovation Grants were announced in December. Project maximums are $10,000 for up to two years of activities that are intended to increase knowledge, build capacity and make connections between farms and rural communities to the benefit of people who live in those communities.
Examples of funded projects include:
- The Farm to Market Alliance program of the Madison-Morgan Conservancy of Georgia -- created to preserve the land by supporting farming and boosting local economies through agritourism and the local foods movement. “The increasing importance of agriculture in our community resonates with citizens, making them more inclined to eat locally and buy locally, supporting our local economies,” said Christine McCauley, executive director of the Madison-Morgan Conservancy. “One dollar paid to a farmer turns over seven times before it leaves the local economy – agriculture is good for us all.”
- A regional food assessment of a 13-county area in Texas that will provide an overall view of the local food system, including data on agricultural statistics, food related health issues, distribution systems, restaurants, and land use. The project also includes outreach education of farmers, ranchers and rural partners.
- A study to tie agriculture to sustainable community development in Elgin, TX. “The goal is to determine community economic development and sustainability by tying the effort to existing and future agricultural endeavors, while respecting the cultural heritage that includes agriculture, architecture, and ethnic diversity,” said Amy Miller, community development director of the City of Elgin, TX.
- An effort by officials in Mount Pleasant, S.C., to introduce sustainable ag practices as a tool for economic development and to create a more sustainable community.
- An effort by the Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council in Tennessee to teach regional agriculture producers about digital media and free public media resources, as well as teach a new generation of young people to support the local food movement.
The complete 2010 Sustainable Community Innovation Grants include:
- CS10-075 Building Sustainable Families Through a Celebration of Low-Impact and Organic Community-Supported Agriculture. University of Tennessee Extension, TN, $10,000. Allie Ruth Correll, 615-444-9584, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CS10-076 Investing in Community Linkages to Improve Our Food System. Houston Tomorrow, TX, $10,000. Jay Crossley, 713-523-5757, email@example.com.
- CS10-077 Live Green and Prosper Community Education Initiative. Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council, WCTE, TN, $10,000. Erica Duarte, 931-528-2222, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CS10-078 Project Indigo. South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, SC, $10,000. Cathy Forrester, 843-723-8035, email@example.com.
- CS10-079 PolkFresh TradePost Project: A Strategy to Implement Polk County’s 20/20 Vision Plan for Sustainable Community Development. Polk Agricultural Economic Development Office, NC, $10,000. Carol Lynn Jackson, 828-817-23-08, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CS10-080 Farm to Market Alliance. Madison-Morgan Conservancy, GA, $10,000. Christine McCauley, 706-342-9252, email@example.com.
- CS10-081 Establishing Sustainable Agriculture & Community Development in Elgin Texas. City of Elgin, TX, $10,000. Amy Miller, 512-285-5721, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CS10-082 Farming and Agricultural Recommendations for Mount Pleasant (F.A.R.M.). Town of Mount Pleasant, SC, $10,000. Michael Robertson, 843-884-1229, email@example.com.
- CS10-083 United Cherokee Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation Blackberry Development Project (UCANBD Project). United Cherokee Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation, AL, $10,000. Gina Williamson, 256-582-2333, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SARE is a competitive grants program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency to promote research and education about sustainable agriculture. Southern SARE is administered by a host consortium consisting of the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Oklahoma.
Southern SARE includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.