Northeast SARE Administrative Council Approves $5.8M for 62 projects

March 9, 2022

The Administrative Council of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program recently approved $5.8 million in funding to support 62 projects to conduct applied research, farmer education and farm advisor training to strengthen sustainable agriculture throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. 

Northeast SARE offers six different grant programs for farmers, educators, service providers, researchers throughout our region, with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Projects were awarded through the Research and Education, Research for Novel Approaches in Sustainable Agriculture, Professional Development, and Farmer Grant programs. Recipients of the Partnership and Graduate Student Research Grant programs, currently accepting applications, will be voted on at the Administrative Council meeting in July. 

Teams of farmers, researchers, educators, and industry and non-profit representatives reviewed proposals. Northeast SARE’s Administrative Council—a 20-member governance body representing a broad constituency of the Northeast agricultural community—then made final funding allocation decisions. 

Projects recommended to receive funding that will start in 2022 include the following. 

Research and Education Grants 

The Research and Education Grant Program funds 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. 

Projects may be submitted with or without an applied research component, but all projects must have an outcome-based education program for farmers. 

District of Columbia  

Women for the Land: Helping Women Farmers Advance Soil Health in Pennsylvania  

Michelle Perez  

American Farmland Trust 


AFT will ensure women farmers in Pennsylvania have the knowledge, skills, and access to technical and financial assistance they need to achieve the adoption of soil health management practices on their farmland. 


Implementation of Improved Intestinal Parasite Management Practices on Maryland Livestock Farms 

Sarah Potts   

University of Maryland  


University of Maryland teach livestock and equine producers in Maryland how to implement best practices for intestinal parasite management and reduce reliance on dewormers through a combination of direct (on-farm consultations, field days, demonstrations) and indirect (articles, webinars) methods. 

New Hampshire 

Developing Mediated Market Models to Increase Consumer Engagement and Market Access for New England Farmers 

Analena Bruce  

University of New Hampshire  


University of New Hampshire will facilitate peer-to-peer learning and mentoring for New England farmers and stakeholders to share strategies for reducing marketing labor and increasing market access through collaborative, mediated market models; a consumer survey will supplement the sharable knowledge. 

Education and On-farm Research to Advance Agroforestry for Climate Resilience for Northeast Farmers 

Theresa Ong   

Dartmouth College Agroforestry Transition Hub  


The Agroecology Lab at Dartmouth College will build a small nursery for tree propagation for agroforestry adoption. We will run a series of 10-week courses for early adopters of agroforestry in the northeast to practitioners to aid in agroforestry adoption and track their transitions. 

New York  

Optimizing the Economic Return of Pasture-Raised Slow-growth and Conventional Broilers  

Amy Barkley 

Cornell University  


Regenerative Organic Dry Bean Production in the Northeast 

Matthew Ryan  

Cornell University 


Cornell University will expand organic dry bean production as part of a regenerative cropping system in the Northeast. This will be achieved via the creation of a farmer community of practice as well as generation and dissemination of research-based information on best agronomic practices. 

Increasing Capacity to Produce High-Quality, Regionally Adapted Seed to Enhance Northeast Biosecurity and Diversify Markets for Vegetable Growers 

Crystal Stewart-Courtens  

Cornell Cooperative Extension  


Northeast farmers and seed keepers are interested in increasing seed production for on-farm, community, and commercial use. By training farmers in horticulture and economics of seed, and making learning cohorts, Cornell Cooperative Extension will increase capacity for seed production and distribution in the northeast. 

Immigrant Urban Farmer’s Project 

Brittany O'Neill 

International Rescue Committee  


The Immigrant Urban Farmer’s Project will support immigrant community members interested in working in the agriculture industry as new or beginning farmers, by providing comprehensive, hands-on training and mentorship. Courses will provide transferable skills, applicable in urban or rural settings. 


Capturing Value with Cereal Rye: Growing High Quality Rye in the Northeast for Value-Added Markets 

Heather Darby 

University of Vermont Extension  


In the Northeast, cereal rye is common as a cover crop. However, increasing demand for rye grain has many farmers interested in pursuing value-add markets for this cover crop. This project will develop agronomic, end-use quality, and marketing information to help farmers gain access to new markets.

Online Educational ‘Hub’ for Migrant Farmworkers 

Sarah Kleinman  

University of Vermont Extension  


University of Vermont Extension will establish and maintain an online educational "hub" for Spanish speaking migrant farmworkers. This project will facilitate enrollment, provide technology and instruction. Content will focus on enhancing work-based communication, farm safety, and technical skills required for the modern dairy farm. 

Scaling Northeastern Agroforestry using a Farmer-centered Field Consultancy Model 

Meghan Giroux   

Interlace Commons  


Utilizing a farmer-centered framework, Interlace Commons will work with ten farms across the northeast to help them identify and design an agroforestry practice that meets specified conservation and production objectives. 

Supporting New High-Tunnel Vegetable Growers with a Comprehensive Crop Management Approach 

Margaret Skinner 

University of Vermont  


Insect, disease, soil fertility and crop management in high tunnels are different from field production, demanding specific skills to ensure crop quality and yield. Growers new to high tunnels will receive goal-based guidance and an information toolkit to adopt integrated management strategies. 


Improving Honeybees Through Local Queen Rearing, Selection, and Controlled Mating via Artificial Insemination 

Robyn Underwood 

Penn State University 


Penn State University will advance honeybee husbandry by training beekeepers in colony assessment, queen rearing, and artificial insemination. All participants will sell northern queens and select participants will provide insemination services, both improving genetics in the region and their earning potential. 

Novel Approaches Grants 

The Research for Novel Approaches in Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program funds “proof of concept” projects. These projects aim to confirm the benefit and/or feasibility of experimentally viable practices and approaches with high potential for adoption by farmers.  

These practices and approaches may be related to production, marketing, business management, or other topics related to sustainable agriculture. Research may be conducted through field trials, laboratory experiments and social science investigations.  


Investigating Dual-use Solar for Wild Blueberry Farms in Maine 

Lily Calderwood  

University of Maine  


University of Maine will evaluate the impact of solar construction on wild blueberry and the long-term ability of wild blueberries to produce commercially under a solar array in collaboration with several farmers. 

Covering Ground: Assessing Effectiveness of Interseeding Cover Crops in Late Season Vegetable Crops to Enhance Soil Health in the Northeast 

Jason Lilley  

University of Maine Cooperative Extension 


University of Maine Cooperative Extension will assess timing of seeding, seeding methods, and species selection for interseeding in order to assist Northeast vegetable farmers to plant more cover crop acres.  

Development of a rapid, inexpensive assay for farm-based detection of four pathogenic Vibrio strains linked to shellfish hatchery failures 

Meredith White  

Mook Sea Farm 


Mook Sea Farm will develop and commercialize loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays for fast, inexpensive farm-based detection of virulence marker genes of four Vibrio species linked to shellfish hatchery failures. The assays and easy-to-use guide will help hatcheries reduce loss from pathogens. 


Using unoccupied aerial vehicles for application of fertilizers to cranberry bogs in Massachusetts 

Brian Wick  



USDA-ARS will evaluate the use of unoccupied aerial vehicles to apply granular fertilizer to cranberry bogs, comparing their efficiency and uniformity against current agronomic practices, including ground applications with backpack-type broadcast spreaders and aerial applications via helicopters. 

New Jersey 

Exploring novel natural products for the development of push-pull systems to manage spotted-wing drosophila 

Cesar Rodriguez-Saona  

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 


Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, will develop an innovative push-pull approach for spotted-wing drosophila (SWD) that combines repellent, oviposition deterrent, and/or natural toxins with existing attract-and-kill tactics to reduce reliance on insecticide use by implementing sustainable IPM strategies in the Northeast 

Foliar Nickel fertilizer nutrition to enhance cranberry yield and decrease fungicide use 

Joseph Heckman  

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 


Evaluate the application of foliar nickel fertilizer is as a sustainable method for increasing crop yield, supplementing control for fruit and leaf pathogens, decreasing urea nitrogen application, and improving cranberry plant tolerance to abiotic stress from rising salinity and temperature. 

New York 

The Use of Biochar in Agroforestry to Promote Soil Microbial Health, Tree Productivity, and Carbon Sequestration 

David Newman  

Arthur's Point Farm  


A quantitative evaluation of biochar treatments on soil microbial health, tree growth and vigor, and carbon sequestration in a newly established chestnut grove interplanted with black locust for the purpose of informing optimal management practices in similar agroforestry systems. 


Development of above and below ground strategies using entomopathogenic fungi and RNAi technologies for the control root crop pests 

Victor Izzo  

University of Vermont  


Assess the efficacy of both cultured entomopathogenic fungi and RNAi technologies for the control of wireworms and Colorado potato beetle in root crops. 

Biochar from Biosolids and Source Separated Human Urine: Soil Health Impacts and Farmer Perspectives 

Abraham Noe-Hays  

Rich Earth Institute  


Investigate novel human-waste-derived soil amendments, by conducting field trials to test the soil health impact of urine, biomass biochar, and biosolids biochar (in comparison to conventional and organic amendments), and farmer interviews. 

Vertical Bifacial Solar Panels: A Winning Solution for Agrivoltaics and Farmers 

Bruce L. Parker  

University of Vermont  


Showcase a highly efficient farming-friendly solar agrivoltaic system using innovative vertical bifacial solar panels for the first time in the US. Data gathered will quantify the economic, agricultural and environmental advantages of this system for Northeastern farmers. 

Culturally Meaningful, Regionally Adapted Seed: Making the Ujamaa Cooperative Farmers Alliance Market Ready 

Daniel Tobin  

University of Vermont  


Support the Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance (UCFA), a collective of BIPOC seed growers, to enhance the market viability of culturally meaningful, regionally adapted seed in the Northeast to strengthen the cultural appropriateness and climate resilience of the food system. 

Professional Development Grants 

The Northeast SARE Professional Development Grant Program funds train-the-trainer projects that develop and share knowledge across the full range of service providers who work with farmers. These service providers then use the awareness, skills and attitudes they gain in their work with farmers.  


Reducing Tensions on Market Day: Training Farmers' Market Organizers and Service Providers on Conflict Resolution and De-escalation Strategies 

James DeBiasi  

Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets  


Train Maine and Vermont farmers market organizers, volunteers, board members and service providers to improve their management interactions with market vendors and customers through a series of professional development strategies. 


Designing Multifunctional Buffers to Improve Farm Viability in the Berkshire-Taconic Region of MA, NY, and CT 

Mark Phillips  

Berkshire Agricultural Ventures  


Equip agricultural service providers with knowledge of new options for multifunctional buffers (for-profit & pollinator habitat focused) to drive farmer adoption of riparian buffers, increase farm viability, and reduce agricultural nonpoint source pollution in the project area. 

New Jersey 

The Greater Newark Sustainable Farming Practices and Local Entrepreneurship Program 

Alexandra Chang  

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey  


An intensive experiential workshop and demo program to train service providers in the Greater Newark region with knowledges in traditional Indigenous farming practices and medicinal herbs, seed saving, soil testing, composting, and other sustainable farming methods and local entrepreneurship. 

New York  

Northeast Pollinator Partnership – A Program to Educate Agricultural Service Providers About the Biology, Importance, and Conservation of Wild Bees  

Bryan Danforth  

Cornell University  


Training of agricultural service providers about (1) the biology and diversity of native bees, (2) the threats to wild bees in agroecosystems, and (3) the best management practices to maintain healthy wild bee populations for effective fruit tree pollination. 

West Virginia 

Sprout School: Developing a Comprehensive Farm to School Toolkit for Central Appalachia 

Jennifer Totten  

Future Generations University  


Sprout School trains educators, nutrition personnel, and traditional service providers in a framework to build the impact of West Virginia Farm-to-School operations through delivery of multi-media lessons, in-person workshops, best practice-based field trips, and applicable project implementation. 

Farmer Grants 

Farmer Grant projects address questions directly linked to improved profits, better stewardship, and stronger rural communities. Participating farmers work with a technical advisor – often an extension agent, crop consultant, or service professional – to seek knowledge other farmers can use.  


Germination Testing to Improve the Quality of Ecotypic Native Seed in the Northeast 

Dina Brewster  

The Hickories, LLC  


Eco59, a farmer-led seed collective, will use extensive germination testing to determine optimal timing for the harvest of ecotypic native seed, an emerging market in the Northeast. This project aims to create a baseline data set for analyzing seed quality of Northeast native seed crops. 


Automated Drainage Water Management for Improved Precision, Yield, and Water Quality 

Chris Breeding  

Twin Cedar Ag  


The Drainage Water Management (DWM) project offers significant potential to improve water quality. The Drainage Water Management system will be installed alongside an automated system to allow us the opportunity to collect data to make a comparison in efficiency and management decisions. 


Improving Pastured Broiler Operations for Chickens and Farmers: Automating Feed Systems on Mobile Pasture Coops and Sharing the Results 

Haden Gooch  

Mayday Farm  


Using existing knowledge and pastured poultry housing, develop and build a prototype for a mobile coop that can house grain storage and feed automatically, while maintaining mobility on various terrains, thereby improving production, labor efficiency, and accessibility of a pasture-based model. 

Efficient Leaf-dense Tree/Shrub Silage Production from Field Edges: Climate-resilient Winter Forage Supplement for Cattle, Sheep, and Goats 

Shana Hanson  

3 Streams Farm  


Produce nutrient-dense silage from broadleaf trees and shrubs at field edges, using power-tools and new chain-flail leaf-separator; Trial how much ruminants will eat as winter supplement; and Assess feasibility of nutrition per labor and costs, to reduce climate risk on Northeastern farms. 

Get the Fish Out: Black Soldier Fly Larvae and Marine Macro-algae as Feed Ingredient Replacements for Small Land-based Aquaculture Operations 

Kate Holcomb  

Canopy Farms L3C  


Determine the efficacy of replacing fish meal in aquaculture diets with alternative proteins and ingredients. Fly larvae, macro-algae, brewery byproducts, and earthworms will be used as alternatives. Rainbow trout growth will be used to compare alternative and fish meal-based feed. 

Field Testing the Viability of 3D-printed Oyster Farm Equipment 

Jordan Kramer  

Winnegance Oyster Farm  


Build and field-trial 3D printed oyster bags made from four different materials in order to test their suitability for prototyping experimental sea farming equipment. 


Determining the Effect of Tree Pruning and Nutritional Inputs on a Neglected Chestnut Orchard 

Jane Dennison  

Morris Orchard LLC 


Study the effect of tree pruning and improved nutrition on production and soil health in a neglected chestnut orchard. The farmer will share results on the efficacy of these activities on restoring a 60 year old chestnut orchard to encourage others with mature orchards. 

Improving Soil Tilth and Productivity with Mycorrhizal and Saprophytic Fungi 

Matthew Harhai  

Goat Plum Tree Farm, LLC   


Mycelia of fungi species paddy straw, almond agaricus, parasol, shaggy mane, and blewit will increase soil porosity of clay rich soil thus helping plants' roots to reach their potential, and improve crop productivity. 

Ground cherries: improving harvesting efficiency and defining marketing measures 

Jenni Hoover  

Serenity Grove Farm  


Evaluate using an inverted ‘V” bed design to reduce harvest labor cost to increase profitability for small farms to grow. The yield conversations between unhusked fruit and whole husked fruit will also be determined. 

Nature’s Colors: Exploring the Production and Profitability of Natural Dyes in Baltimore 

Kenya Miles  

Blue Light Junction   


In 2019, the Baltimore Natural Dye Initiative was born, a visionary project that leverages Baltimore’s strong urban ag and social entrepreneurship sectors to build the city as a national leader in the natural dye market. As project lead, Kenya Miles is spearheading the project’s next phase: training 

For the Love of Legumes: Sustainable Urban Micro-scale Grains and Dried Beans on a Demonstration Farm in Baltimore City 

Denzel Mitchell  

Farm Alliance of Baltimore  


Urban farmers Denzel Mitchell and Myeasha Taylor, and Technical Advisor, Marcus Williams of UMD-Extension, will conduct a 2-year trial of small grains and dried beans on FAB's demonstration farm, showing trainee and experienced urban farmers that these crops can be grown using sustainable methods. 

Foliar Application of Kaolin Clay to Manage Pest and Diseases in Day Neutral Strawberry 

Mariav Velikonja  

Carniola Farms Inc  


Demonstrate that Kaolin clay spray can be applied to strawberries to prevent disease and control pests, in lieu of toxic synthetic chemicals. 


The Oysterbot: Developing a Ropeless Bottom Cage Retrieval System for Nearshore Oyster Farms 

Dale Leavitt  

Blue Stream Shellfish LLC 


Develop a remotely operated vehicle (OysterBot) to identify and attach a lifting line to ropeless oyster cages in >15 feet of water to prevent entanglement of marine megafauna in vertical lines attached to nearshore oyster cages and protect farmers from accidental entanglement on deck.  

Gracilaria Seaweed Aquaculture Farm Grow-out, Harvest, and Marketing 

Dan Martino  

Martino's Seafood, LLC 


Create market research survey and tastings, source Gracilaria seed from a hatchery, plant Gracilaria seed onto grow lines and document growth/harvest rates.  

Farm and Conservation Land for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Self Determination and Sovereignty in Rural Massachusetts 

Carmen Mouzon  

The Farm School  


Farmland for Black Indigenous People of Color in Rural MA is key to broadening the scope of agricultural and educational research and practices of sustainability. Nonprofits, Land Trusts, Conservationist and Legislators come together to define policies leading to BIPOC land ownership and access. 

Establishment and Evaluation of Founder Plots for Native Seed Production 

Alexis Doshas  

Native Plant Trust 


Design and install 5 founder plots to test and evaluate the potential for native seed production for a wide range of stakeholders. Document best practices for installation and production and share our results widely. 

Transferred Mulch System for Organic Reduced Tillage Vegetable Production 

Jeremy Plotkin  

Simple Gifts Farm  


Help farmers optimize their transferred mulch system by measuring dry matter and nutrient composition of applied mulch, the nitrogen availability in a crop field under the mulch, and soil health indicators over time. 

New Hampshire  

Agroforestry Production of Rare Medicinal Herbs in New Hampshire 

Kate Dobrowski  

Green Hill Farm  


Research four native medicinal herbs to grow in New Hampshire that will meet a current demand for these herbs while reducing unsustainable wild foraging, the need of importing foreign stock, and building a sustainable agroforestry business. 

New Jersey 

Grafting Heritage African Eggplants for Disease Control and Enhanced Production 

Morris Gbolo  

World Crops Farm  


Heritage African Eggplants are not bred to resist root diseases that kill or greatly reduce production. Grafting onto disease resistant rootstocks offers a potential solution to overcome yield limiting diseases. 

New York 

Comparison of Farm-produced and Commercial Microorganism Inoculants: Cost, Nutrients, and Biological Constituents 

Matt Bedeaux  

Unadilla Community Farm Education Center, Inc.  


Korean Natural Farming techniques are used to create “indigenous microorganism” inoculants using local materials, which are quantified based on biological and chemical components and compared to compost and a commercial mycorrhizal fungi inoculant. Costs of each method are compared. 

An Illustrated Guide to Value Adding: Rules, Regulations & Good Ideas 

Nichole Carangelo  

Letterbox Farm Collective 


Gather the rules & regulations relevant to value adding from all of the various regulatory departments & summarize them in an easy to ready, illustrated guide. The guide will include case studies of successful value-add ventures for chicken, beef, pork & veggies. 

Establishing Willow and Poplar Tree Fodder Blocks for Resilient Livestock Feed and Flood Mitigation in a Silvopasture Riparian Buffer 

Steve Gabriel 

Wellspring Forest Farm  


Tree fodder blocks are dense plantings of trees that provide a strategic reserve of feed for excessively dry, drought, or even overly wet conditions. Wellspring Forest Farm will test several establishment processes for willow and poplar to determine the costs and effectiveness on tree survival and growth. 

Solving the Agroforestry Cash Flow Gap: Intercropping Short Term Cash Crops During Tree Crop Establishment 

Nicholas Pandjiris  

Whistle Down Farm  


Trial 10 different crops intercropped in row with newly planted fruit and nut trees. The goal is to determine which crops are most effective in this system to provide early returns as trees are establishing, and serve as a working demonstration site for other farms. 

Traditional Tortilla Maize Cultivation in New York’s Hudson Valley: Evaluating Viability of Heirloom Cultivars from Mexico and Central America 

Samuel Rose  

SunRunner Farm LLC 


Traditional Mexican and Central American heirloom maize varieties used expressly for tortilla elaboration are generally photoperiod sensitivity. SunRunner Farm will test the viability of several varieties that have shown promise during prior informal trials in New York's Hudson Valley. 

Sustainable Microgreens Packaging 

Gwen Schantz  

Brooklyn Grange  


Research and test new packaging, designing and printing new labels, and ultimately marketing and distributing the newly packaged produce. 

Determining the Biggest Bang for our (Time) Buck: Dealing with Fall Brassica Diseases in High Humidity Environments 

Maryellen Sheehan  

Hartwood Farm 


Compare interactions between three fungicide application frequencies across nine cultural control strategies, including pest exclusion fabrics to determine if with high rates of fall disease pressure and rising hourly labor costs, what combinations are most effective and financially viable. 

Clonal Production of Hybrid Chestnuts via Stool Bed Layering to Improve Overall Orchard Quality 

Jeffrey Zarnowski  

Z's Nutty Ridge LLC  


Many new chestnut orchards are being planted using seedlings and superior seedlings need to be cloned for increased farm profitability. Z’s Nutty Ridge will identify the hormone requirement necessary to successfully bring stool bed layering, a practice shown to be successful in Europe, to the NE US.  


Techniques for Growing and Overwintering Japanese Fig Tree Espalier in the Northeast 

Craig Boyer  

Boyer Holdings LLC  


Explore growing figs using Japanese Stepover Espalier technique inside high tunnels. The espalier's cordons will be grown directly on the soil for ease of mulching in winter. Additional winter protection using Eliot Coleman-style row covers will be utilized inside the high tunnel. 

Organic and Biological Control of Colorado Potato Beetle 

Robert Moynihan  

Plowshare Farms 


In-field evaluation of the use of guineafowl and hand-picking to control Colorado Potato Beetle and improve potato yield. 


Piloting a Year-round Sliding-scale CSA and Unified Online Management System to Improve Food Access  

Brandon Bless  

Bread and Butter Farm  


Use an efficient and convenient online system for member services, inventory management, and synced financial data as a foundation for operating a sliding scale CSA with on-farm and remote distribution sites.  

Enhancing Health Benefits of Pasture Raised Lamb, Pork, and Chicken Utilizing Organic Fish Hydrolysate and Compost Supplementation 

Karen Rodgers  

MKVT Farm 


Improvement of nutritional value and enriched production of pork, lamb, and chicken evaluated utilizing regenerative rotational grazing of grasses with microbiome enhanced by organic fish hydrolysate and compost. Soil health and vegetative advantages will also be examined. 

Evaluating Weed Suppression for Saffron Production: Manual, Flame Weeding, Tarping, and Cover Crops 

Erica Walch  

Hobby Hill Farm  


Evaluate the use of sileage tarps, low-growing clover (a cover crop), buckwheat (a taller cover crop and soil improver) and manual weeding to determine their costs and impacts on the production of saffron in a no-spray environment. 

West Virginia 

Analysis of Organic Matter and Pipe Depth in a Geothermal Climate Battery High Tunnel 

Tommye Rafes  

T. L. Fruits and Vegetables LLC  


Examine two key factors in heating and cooling a large geothermal climate battery high tunnel: the underground pipe placement depth and the organic matter (gravel vs soil) surrounding the pipes. 

Related Locations: Northeast