A toolkit for farms of all types, sizes, and certification status
Global climate change is a growing threat to Upper Valley farmers and the communities that rely on them. Upper Valley farmers are responding with a range of climate and adaptation techniques, educational efforts, and political advocacy. With funding from Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, Vital Communities has curated resources that any farm can use to adapt to climate change and lessen its output of greenhouse gases – regardless of the farm’s type (livestock, produce, and more), size, or certification in terms of organic or regenerative practices.
Thanks to Vermont photographer Andy Dubak and NOFA-VT for the photographs used on this page!
Climate Smart Practices
Agroforestry – integrates crops, trees and livestock in the same area and at the same time. Common types include Silvopasture, Alley Cropping, Forest Gardens, Riparian Buffers, and Windbreaks
Tarping – the practice of applying tarps to the soil surface and removing them prior to planting to manage or terminate weeds, crops, and cover crops, aiding the transition between cash crops with minimal to no soil disturbance. Economic tools and visualizations provided.
Agrivoltaics – the use of land for both agriculture and solar photovoltaic energy generation.
Irrigation – systems that work well for small and medium New England farmers. Economic tools and visualizations provided.
Cover Crops and Reduced Tillage – integrating cover crops into field crop production and lowering the intensity of tillage practices.
Cropland and Hayland Management Systems – conservation practices commonly used on crop fields to reduce erosion, improve soil and water quality, improve plant health, and minimize off-site impacts from excess nutrients, pesticides and sediment.
Keyline Plowing and Radish Tillage – using keyline plowing and radish tillage to alleviate pasture compaction.
High Tunnels for Season Extension and Sustainable Crop Production – high tunnels create an environment that is a hybrid between the field (uncontrolled) and a functional greenhouse (controlled).
Field Testing Soil Moisture Sensors for Improved Pasture Management – soil health is critical for maximizing economic and environmental benefits in agriculture.
Agricultural Reports, Resources, and Maps
Weathering the Change: Helping Farmers Help the Land through Climate Smart Farming – is an eight-part educational video series that discusses climate change in the Northeast and how farmers can be more resilient to those changes
USDA Northeast Climate Hub – topical reports, practices, and other content, as well as upcoming events and other resources
Climate Adaptation Resource Database for New England Farmers – information on adapting to regional climate change searchable by climate science, adaptation practices, resource type, and keywords
Vermont Agriculture & Food System Strategic Plan 2021-2030 – agriculture and food system strategic goals, objectives, and proposed actions
Vermont Food System Plan Issue Brief- Climate Change – the context, opportunities, and recommendations surrounding regional climate change
Growing a Climate Resilient New Hampshire Food System OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION – recommendations for fostering the development of a climate-resilient food system in New Hampshire
New England Adaptation Survey for Vegetable and Fruit Growers (2017-2018) – a summary and preliminary statistical analysis of the results of the New England Adaptation Survey (193 fruit and vegetable growers participated in the survey between November 2017 and March 2018)
“Farming & Climate Change: Edgewater Farm”
Nov 29, 2016, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Farmer Services Programs
Vital Communities Food and Farm Program – join our efforts to build a food system that is viable, equitable, accessible, and resilient
The White River Natural Resources Conservation District (White River NCRD) – provide agricultural outreach and education in Orange and most of Windsor county and often host workshops and events with Our Partners, and provide direct technical assistance to agricultural producers throughout the watershed.
Connecticut River Watershed Farmers Alliance (CRWFA) – a farmer-driven 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping agricultural producers in the Connecticut River Watershed in VT, NH, and MA improve agricultural land stewardship practices for clean waterways, healthy soil, and productive landscapes through workshops, discussions, resource sharing, and education.
Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NCRS; VT, NH) – offer financial and technical assistance, emergency watershed protection, as well as a collection of web-based resources for farmers in the region
Northeast Organic Farming Association (VT, NH) – a non-profit organization of over 5,000 farmers, gardeners, landscape professionals and consumers working to promote healthy food, organic farming practices and a cleaner environment
University of Vermont Extension Farming & Climate Change Program – investigates how agriculture can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon storage in soils and how these practices can be integrated into Northeastern agriculture.
Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program – enhances the economic viability of Vermont farms and forestry enterprises by offering business advising to eligible farmers, agriculturally related businesses, forest products enterprises, and forest landowners.
Northeast SARE – offers six different grant programs for farmers, educators, service providers, researchers throughout our region
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (VT, NH) – strengthens specialty crop industries and producer associations
Rural Business Development Grants (VT, NH) – designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses and support job creation and local economic development
Value-Added Producer Grants (VT, NH) – helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products
Farmer Resilience Grants, NOFA-VT – up-front grants (up to $2,500 each) to fund projects that will improve longer term resilience on farms and in communities
Northeast Dairy Innovation Center – provides support to dairy businesses through projects that promote the development, production, marketing, and distribution of dairy products.
The Farm to Plate Network: A self-governing collaborative made up of farm and food system businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, funders, educational institutions, and community groups all working together to reach the 25 goals in the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan, as well as to advance their own organizations’ goals
NH Food Alliance Network Cafes“: The first Friday of each month, an informal and lively conversation with partners across the New Hampshire food system and beyond (archive of past conversations provided).
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