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August 2018

From the Director

Sustainable Agriculture and Social Capital

It’s taken me way too long--an entire Extension career really-- to realize that my work is at its best when it involves social capital.  Sure, I get a lot done sitting alone at my computer, and I get job performance points for giving presentations (i.e., talking at people) and publishing (i.e., pushing information at people). But enduring impacts--and joy--come from my time spent on shared learning. Within the farm community I seek to serve that means growing the lines of communication beyond one-way to more of a fabric where many voices are heard. When it works, mutual respect and goodwill result, building social capital or what Flora and Flora call the reflection of connections among people and organizations, or the social “glue” to make things happen.

Northeast SARE as a grant-making program can enhance social capital, too. Social capital is built from the meaningful relationships our staff seeks with grant applicants, grantees and leadership teams. Northeast SARE structures—from our grant program farmer engagement and outreach requirements to our team of state coordinators at every Land Grant--also build social capital through networking, co-learning, shared understanding of sustainable agriculture and food systems. So in our own small way we try to model a humane approach to what could otherwise be a detached and mechanical process of grant application, review and decision.
The great thing about social capital is that it builds on itself! The more people we engage in networks seeking positive outcomes, the more relationships we can count on, the more lessons we learn, and the more benefits we will accrue, together.

Photo credit: Beth Holtzman
At this summer's Northeast SARE leadership meetings hosted in Maine, Paul Rawson, University of Maine School of Marine Sciences, shows oysters infected with blister worm, the subject of his Northeast SARE Research and Education Project. Pictured (l to r): Northeast SARE Administrative Council member Dean Hively, Paul Rawson, Northeast SARE staffer Candice Huber, and SARE state coordinators Kristy Borrelli (PA) and Doolarie Singh-Knights (WV).

Partnership Grant Cap Increases; Deadline Moves to Spring

There are some changes afoot to Northeast SARE’s Partnership Grant Program. The grant deadline will move from the fall to an April 2019 due date; the call for proposals will be released in February. In addition, the cap on Partnership Grant proposals will be increased to $30,000 to better accommodate multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, and multi-year projects. 

Partnership Grants are conducted by agricultural service providers--extension educators, nonprofit staff, researchers, and others--working directly with farmers on research, on-farm demonstrations, marketing, and other projects that uncover knowledge that farmers can use, encourage understanding and widespread use of sustainable techniques, and strengthen partnerships between farmers and service providers.

Farmer Grant Applications Due November 27

The next round of Farmer Grant proposals will be due by 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. We will release the call for proposals later this summer and will start accepting applications in October.

Northeast SARE’s Farmer Grant program funds projects, conducted by commercial farmers, explore new production techniques, marketing practices and sustainable approaches of interest to the farming community in our region. These projects are often conducted through experiments, trials, surveys and on-farm demonstrations.

Learn more at:

Announcing 2018 Graduate Student Grant Awards

We are pleased to announce that the Northeast SARE Administrative Council recently approved 28 Graduate Student Grants, totaling $405,373. The Graduate Student Grant program funds research projects conducted by graduate students enrolled at accredited colleges, universities, and veterinary schools located in the Northeast region. Awarded projects address a wide range of issues that explore the sustainable agriculture themes of good stewardship, profitability, and quality of life for farmers and the farm community. The 2018 awards went to graduate students at 9 universities in 7 states (MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, and VT).

Northeast SARE Graduate Student Video Snapshots

In this snapshot, University of Vermont graduate student Samantha Alger describes research results from her SARE Graduate Student project, "Bee Viruses: The Evaluation of Flowering Plants in Horizontal Transmission and Conditions Promoting Viral Replication."
In this snapshot, filmed at the 2018 national SARE conference, University of Maryland graduate student Abhinav Choudhury describes the Research and Education project he and his adviser, Stephanie Lansing, worked on, "Quantifying and demonstrating scrubbing H2S from farm-based anaerobic digestion systems." Abhinav was recently awarded a Graduate Student grant to continue this work.

Northeast SARE Seeks Grant Reviewers

Looking ahead to upcoming grant cycles, we are now seeking candidates for the Northeast SARE Technical Committee (TC). This group contributes their experience and expertise to review and rank proposals for Northeast SARE’s six grant programs. TC recommendations are provided to the Administrative Council for final award selections. Technical Committee members are located throughout the region and bring a wide range of agricultural expertise to the committee to represent the diversity of agriculture in our region.

Farmers, Extension educators, nonprofit staff, federal and state employees, and other service providers who regularly work in the farm and food system communities throughout the Northeast are encouraged to apply. The anticipated time commitment for TC members is two days per year for a term of three years. Expenses incurred during the review are covered by Northeast SARE, and farmers or other self-employed individuals and non-profit representatives serving as TC members may receive a per diem stipend.

We welcome interested candidates to submit a description of their agriculturally-relevant experience, specific subject matter expertise, and full contact information to Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year.
Northeast SARE offers competitive grants and sustainable agriculture education in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Our programs are offered to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status. SARE is funded by USDA NIFA. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Northeast SARE

140 Kennedy Drive, Suite 201
University of Vermont
South Burlington, Vermont 05403

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