New Small Grants Program for Climate Resilience

August 8, 2023

This August, we launched a new small grants program to further protect and steward the working landscapes of Marin County. The first round of funding from this initiative builds upon our efforts to conserve the region’s farm and ranchlands through conservation easements, by offering grants to help all local agriculturalists implement proactive and innovative solutions to adapt to the changing conditions of the landscape.

The focus of this first round is Building Climate Resilience, funding climate-smart agricultural practices that improve operational resilience, increase water security, and build soil health. Rain catchment systems, vertical farming solutions, manure management, conversion of gas engines to electric power, solar panel installations, and robotic technologies to replace fuel equipment are a few examples of the projects we are looking to support — the impact of which will be realized in the landscape for decades to come. Applications could be submitted August through early September, and in October, we will award up to a total of $200,000 for our inaugural round of funding, with grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

The focus of future funding rounds (with the next one planned for spring 2024) will align with our strategic pillars of preserving agriculture, protecting biodiversity, further building climate resilience, and connecting our community. Of course, none of this would be possible without the partnership of our farming and ranching community and the ongoing support of our generous donors. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to sharing more stories of impact in the coming months.

Watch the video above and hear MALT’s executive director, Lily Verdone, explain our new small grants program and the impact we can have on building local climate resilience.

Building On A Legacy of Success

Our new small grants program is designed to build on MALT’s existing funding opportunities. Since its inception in 2002, our Stewardship Assistance Program (SAP) has granted more than $1.67 million to land holders with MALT easements for conservation practices that improve water quality and soil health. We’ve structured this new initiative as a complimentary funding opportunity available to all Marin County agricultural producers.

We’ve also modeled this new program around learnings from the emergency launch of our Drought Resilience and Water Security (DRAWS) initiative. Over a two year period, we committed more than $916,000 to 75 water infrastructure projects that built long-term resilience to address the growing impacts of climate change. The success of DRAWS is a testament to the value of a small grants initiative well-tailored to the needs of our community and our ability to quickly adapt and support that need.

Preserving agriculture and the careful stewardship of our farm and ranchland benefits all Marin County residents. Through this new funding mechanism, our team at MALT now has a new resource to continue strengthening our community’s resilience amid a changing climate, safeguard a critical part of our local economy, and sustain the vibrancy of our local food system.

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