In 2016, PCC Farmland Trust launched Advancing Farm Sustainability (AFS), a micro-grant program that supports farmers in their adoption of new approaches to sustainable land management.
Three years into the program, we are pleased to have been able to support 25 projects that support lasting improvements to soil, water, and/or habitat on our conserved farms. In addition, we are proud to share that the $47,000 we have distributed through the program has been leveraged with over $250,000 in match funds from conservation districts, cost-share programs, and investments from grant recipients themselves.
We rank each project against a set of criteria, measuring whether it helps achieve the goals outlined in the applicant’s farmland stewardship plan. We also assess the scale and length of the natural resource impact of the project, and ensure it aligns with our Stewardship Principles, which speak to our values around soil health, water conservation, habitat protection, and climate resiliency. We typically look for projects that institute a change in current practices, leverage additional funding, or utilize volunteer time.
We are thrilled to have been awarded a $6,000 grant from Patagonia Ballard to help support the growth and expansion of our Advancing Farm Sustainability program.
See below for some examples of projects we funded this last year.
Funded item(s): Water storage cisterns
Sustainable practice: Collection of rainwater limits nutrient runoff in winter and provides alternative water sources in summer
Invasive weed management
Sustainable practice: Rotational grazing used to reclaim old pastures overgrown with invasive weeds
Cover crop management
Funded item(s): Flail mower
Sustainable practice: Winter cover crop established to raise organic matter and build soil health
Irrigation efficiency upgrades
Sustainable practice: Irrigation efficiency upgrades promote water conservation and allow for crop growth and variety throughout the year
Go behind the scenes with Helsing Junction Farm and Shelstad Farm to learn about their AFS projects. Stay tuned for more updates on our program in the coming months, and keep your eye on The Crop for ways you can engage with us at the Patagonia Ballard store this next year!