Ecosystem Services in Working Lands: US Northeast

4.2.3 Review of Funding/Program Organizations The organizational trends in the farming, food, and agriculture category follow some similar trends in the supporting landscapes and systems category. In general, for both private and public organizations, there are more programs available at the state level rather than at the regional or the federal level. At the same time, public programs outnumber private programs overall regardless of scale. Only at the regional level do private and partnership programs seem more numerous relative to themselves, but even so, they still lag public programs generally. At the same time, private regional programs tend to be more available to producers than to supporting institutions. Organizationally, most programs for producers are given through foundations and charitable organizations that provide technical assistance for short-term business planning and long-term estate planning, including the following: • Conservation Law Foundation Legal Food Hub • Land for Good Farm Legacy Program There are also a number of regional partnerships that convene for specific groups of farmers. • Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust Community Conservation Program is one such example, convening in the interest of minority farmers in the U.S. Northeast. • Chesapeake Bay Foundation and their Million Acres Challenge aims to build common ground among farming, profitability, resilience, and the environment for farmers in the Chesapeake Watershed. It’s interesting that while this program encourages connection and innova tion among farmers, it also provides up-to-date scientific information and research, as well as educational opportunities and financial analysis in the interest of promoting soil and ecosystem health. • The Delmarva Land and Litter Collaborative is a regional partnership program that convenes in the interest of poultry farmers in the Delmarva peninsula. DLLC brings together representatives from chicken companies, farmers, regulatory agencies, academia, and environmental groups to identify solutions to support healthy and productive ecosystems and poultry farms. • The NOFA TriState Order Program is another regional program available through a unique partnership. The NOFA Bulk Order was one of the first programs from NOFA, which was the parent organization from which all of the NOFA State Chapters would originate. Today, most state chapters run their own bulk orders; however, NOFA/Mass organizes the Tri-State Order on behalf of the NOFA organizations in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

Outside of these partnership programs, there are also state-level programs that are the key to empowering farmers to engage with ecosystem services beyond food production.

• Managing Waste is a Pennsylvania-based food recovery infrastructure grant. The purpose of this p rogram is to reduce the amount of fresh and processed foodstuffs entering Pennsylvania’s waste stream. Grants under this program can assist not-for-profit agencies with the costs of equipment necessary to prepare, transport, and store foodstuffs acquired from retailers/wholesalers. • New York’s Land Trust Grants Program. Like other permanent land protection programs, the Land Trust Grants Program awards state assistance to land trusts for activities that will assist counties and municipalities with their agricultural and farmland protection efforts, including providing technical assistance to county and municipal governments, owners of agricultural lands, and other agricultural interests. Generally, these grants have been offered to help cover transaction costs associated with donating an agricultural conservation easement; however, they can also be used to provide greater land access to current and future farmers or to educate landowners about how to protect their properties from conversion to non-farm uses. Beyond these programs for producers, there are also a number of regional private and partnership programs available for supporting institutions to better serve their farmers in their community. Programs like the American Farmland Trust’s Farms for the Future program, for example, offers a skill-building workshop series to provide education to municipalities, land trusts, and nonprofits so that these institutions might better support farms and farmers in the northern New England region.


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