This small grants program builds on the success of distributing more than $2.2 million through our Stewardship Assistance Program and Drought Resilience and Water Security (DRAWS) initiative to farmers and ranchers throughout Marin County.

We are excited to launch new rounds of small grants that will help build towards MALT’s vision of a thriving and inclusive agricultural community in a healthy and diverse natural environment.  

Fall 2023 — Round 1

Grant focus: Build Climate Resilience

As weather patterns and climate trends continue to shift and become less predictable, agriculturalists in Marin County, and throughout California, face longer heat waves, increased drought, frequent flooding, and prolonged fire seasons.

The goal of this small grant cycle is to provide resources to help agriculturalists plan, design, and implement climate smart practices that deliver long-term solutions for water security, emissions reduction, and/or promote livestock welfare.

This grant round opens August 1, 2023 and closes September 10, 2023.

Grant Guidelines

Grants will promote climate smart agricultural practices and increase climate resilience through innovative practices and techniques to address one or several of these major categories: 1) water security/drought resilience, 2) livestock feed/welfare, 3) fuel/energy/emissions reduction.

Projects will help reduce long term costs, increase efficiency, and/or increase the capacity of at least one of the three categories. Projects should support economic stability by contributing to the maintenance of existing agricultural production during dramatic swings in weather and climatic conditions. Projects that also have an ecological benefit by improving soil health, increasing species diversity in rangelands, and/or improving water quality are encouraged. 

About the Program

MALT’s small grants program funds projects that preserve agriculture, protect biodiversity, connect our community, and build climate resilience. The grant program values social justice, prioritizes agricultural and operational diversity, and encourages climate smart conservation practices that increase agricultural utility and protect soil and water quality.

All funded projects will have a public benefit by ensuring continued economic agricultural activity in Marin county and locally sourced food. Agricultural activities offer many benefits to the greater community including jobs and revenue to the local economy, as well as locally produced food, fiber, and other agricultural products. Protection of agriculturally productive land also helps maintain open space, scenic views, and wildlife corridors. Productive agricultural lands protect aquatic ecosystems such as creeks, ponds, wetlands, and groundwater, which all provide crucial habitat for native species.

Funding Guidelines

  1. Maximum award amount is $50,000. Grant proposals of between $5,000 and $50,000 will be accepted.
  2. MALT will award up to $200,000 for the Fall 2023 grant cycle.
  3. Projects must be completed within 12-18 months of award.
  4. Proposals must include an estimated project cost, preferably with quotes or bids for the proposed project work. (See grant application.)
  5. Successful proposals include an  applicant cost share of at least 10% of the total award amount. The 10% is calculated from the total project cost once the project is completed. (For example a project that costs $40,000, the landowner will be reimbursed $36,000 and for a project that is $75,000 the applicant will have maxed out the grant amount at $50,000.)
  6. Grants will fund materials and labor that are used for the specific project outlined in the Grant Agreement. Labor recorded by the applicant will be reimbursed at a rate of $25/hour.
  7. MALT’s small grants program is a reimbursement program. No grant will be paid out until the project is complete, MALT has confirmed project completion, and project standards have been met. However,  project applicants may submit a special request for advance payment. Advance payment would allow for a portion of the grant (up to 50% estimated project cost) to be paid before completion of the project. Advance payments will be considered on a case by case basis, if the need is clear, the request reasonable, and easy to track.


  1. Landowner approval or proof of right to manage the land is required for all applicants.
  2. All agriculturalists engaging in commercial agriculture in Marin County are eligible for this grant. A MALT Conservation Easement is not required to apply for a grant from this program.
  3. Current MALT Board of Directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for funding. For more information, please see the MALT Conflict of Interest Policy
  4. Due to a limited funding pool, MALT requests applicants to only apply if the resources are needed.

Application Deadlines

August 1, 2023 – Request for Proposals Released

Aug 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 & 29, 8-10am & 4-6pm – Office hours to support applicants

September 10, 2023 – Proposals due

Mid-October, 2023 – Grant awards announced

Proposal Evaluation

  1. Projects are evaluated by the degree that they advance MALT’s mission and the goals of the small grants program to preserve agriculture, protect biodiversity, connect our community, and/or build climate resilience.
  2. In addition, the grant program values social justice, prioritizes agricultural and operational diversity, and encourages climate smart conservation practices that increase agricultural utility and protect soil and water quality.
  3. All eligible proposals will be reviewed by a review committee comprised of MALT staff and representatives from partner organizations.
  4. Proposals will be evaluated, scored, and ranked by the selection criteria found in Exhibit C in the application. The broad categories that the project should have impact on are:-Increased water security/efficiency with a preference towards rain catchment systems-Reduction in operation emissions including; electricity, fuel, water, or food costs. Preference towards longer term solutions
  5. Increase in livestock welfare and farm self sufficiency through increased on farm feed production
  6. MALT may visit the proposed project site as part of any project consideration.
    Proposals will be reviewed and all proposal applicants will be notified of their application status per the timeline above.
  7. A non-exhaustive list of potential projects can be found in Exhibit A in the grant application available August 1. All necessary permitting will need to be pursued by the applicant as part of the project.

Grant Awards

  1. MALT will enter into a Grant Agreement with the grant recipients (and landowner, if different).
  2. The Grant Agreement will include a detailed project scope, the estimated grant amount, and property owner approval.
  3. Funding reimbursement will occur upon successful implementation of the proposed project, as determined by MALT staff after a site visit. All projects must be completed within 12 to 18 months, unless otherwise noted in the executed grant agreement.
  4. Grant recipients must allow MALT to photograph any completed projects, develop narratives around the project, and permit MALT to use such photographs and project narratives for fundraising and publicity purposes.
  5. Monitoring of completed projects will be included in annual easement monitoring visits for applicants with MALT easements. For projects on properties without MALT easements, MALT reserves the right to to check the status and conditions of the project for a year after the project is complete.

Reserved Rights

  1. MALT reserves the right to request clarification and/or supplemental information from any applicant to facilitate evaluation of the proposed project.
  2. MALT reserves the right to award funding it deems fit. This reservation includes and is not limited to: the right to reject any or all applications for any reason; the right to award funding in different amounts to varying applicants; the right to award funding for multiple projects to the same applicant; and the right to request an applicant to reapply to remedy errors in submission.
  3. MALT shall not be held liable for any expenses incurred by applicants before the date of the grant agreement.
  4. MALT reserves the right to modify these guidelines, the attached exhibits, and any of the procedures at any time.
  5. MALT reserves the right to terminate the program at any time and shall not be held liable for any projects without an executed grant agreement at the time of termination.

Selection Criteria

Readiness and Feasibility (20%)

Planning and design

Implementation and timeline

Permitting or other compliance issues

Post-construction maintenance

External funding


Operational Resilience (40%)

Agricultural and operational diversity

Operations management, land management, and promote stewardship

Project clarity

Project innovation

Livestock well-being

Cost sharing

Social and/or environmental justice


Ecologic Climate Resilience (40%)

Climate smart conservation practices that increase agricultural utility

Water security, storage, infiltration or distribution – quantity focus

Water quality

Soil quality and soil health

Emissions, energy consumption and/or fuel

Climate smart practice to reduce feed costs, improve feed system or quality of feed

Benefits to the local watershed

Ecological climate resilience

Example Projects

  • Rain catchment (gutters, tanks, pipes, pumps, etc.)
  • Increased water storage and distribution through tanks and troughs
  • Water sensory or automation technology (water efficiency)
  • Smart/automated greenhouses
  • Vertical farming systems
  • Conversion of gas/diesel engine to electric
  • Solar panels and conversion to off grid
  • Technologies that help reduce feed cost long term
  • Technologies that reduce electricity, fuel, water or feed costs
  • Robotics or artificial intelligent technology to replace fuel equipment
  • Biodigester
  • Hay dryer

Connect with Us

For questions or to connect with a member of our conservation team, please complete the contact form below or contact Eric Rubenstahl at erubenstahl[at], (415) 663-1158 Ext: 319. We will respond as soon as possible.

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