Education Grants allow applicants to conduct education and outreach activities for the benefit of the greater sustainable ag community, and promote efforts in farmer innovations, community resilience, business success, ag diversification, and best management practices.
May: Education Grant Call for Proposals is released.
August: Education Grant proposals are due.
February: Education Grants announced.
Education Grants were born out of Southern SARE's Research and Education Grants program, when there was recognized a need for many organizations, such as non-profits, to conduct sustainable agriculture work that was not grounded in research.
Education Grants are open to academic institutions and organizations, such as non-profits and non-governmental organizations, who are interested in conducting education and outreach activities for the benefit of the greater sustainable ag community, and promote efforts in farmer innovations, community resilience, business success, agricultural diversification, and best management practices. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and 1890 land-grant university faculty/extension cooperators are especially encouraged to apply for this grant for their education and outreach activities. SSARE also considers proposals from organizations/institutions whose projects involve farmers from indigenous agriculture that produces products for community food systems. These enterprises may be eligible where the production activity has an annual value of less than $1,000, even if products are not sold due to cultural factors.
Education Grants should focus on a topic area of sustainable agriculture relevance that meets SARE’s program goals. In addition, the proposed project should comprise education/outreach efforts/activities that support the research/education foundation of the institution/organization, and must clearly articulate how those education/outreach efforts/activities will be implemented and evaluated.
Examples of Education Grant projects can include one or more of the following, but are not limited to:
- Experiential (Demonstrations, on-farm tours, field days, workshops, trainings, case studies);
- Integrative (Conferences, seminars, course curriculum)
- Reinforcement (Fact sheets, bulletins, books, manuals, videos, online technologies, guidebooks)
SARE encourages proposals on quality of life topics that focus on the social health of a farming system. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Heirs property;
- Farmers’ markets; food hubs; locavores; CSAs;
- Local/regional processing/slaughter;
- Food sheds and food circles;
- Direct marketing and value-added;
- Beyond organics value chains;
- Farm to School/Institution;
- Civic agriculture, agritourism;
- Denominations of origin/geographic indications;
- Non-GMO movement, Slow Food, chef collaboratives;
- Urban ag systems;
- Food policy councils, governance structures; and
- Local/regional certification/branding.
To determine allowable costs for the funding, refer to the USDA-NIFA Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars: A-21: Cost Principles for Educational Activities, and A-110: Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-Profit Organization. Refer to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations for additional grant regulations.
Education Grant proposals must meet the following basic requirements in order to be considered for funding:
- Project outcomes must focus on developing sustainable agriculture systems or moving existing systems toward sustainable agriculture.
- The project must clearly articulate what is being taught, to whom and how the project will accomplish those goals.
- The results must be realistic, acceptable to farmers, logical, and capable of leading to the actions and benefits described in the proposal.
- For farmers involved in your project, the primary occupation is farming/ranching or part-time farming. Producers run their farm alone or with family or partners and have a least $1,000 of documented annual income from the operation, as defined by USDA. SSARE also considers proposals with farmers from indigenous agriculture that produces products for community food systems. These enterprises may be eligible where the production activity has an annual value of less than $1,000, but products are not sold due to cultural factors.
Who Can Apply?
Researchers from public and private institutions, such as 1862 and 1890 land-grant universities or other colleges and universities; government agencies, such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service or USDA-ARS; non-governmental organizations; and community-based organizations.
Education Grants strictly fund education and outreach activities related to sustainable agriculture whose outcomes are intended to benefit farmers and farming communities. There is no research involved in these grant projects.
Education Grant Calls for Proposals open in May and are awarded February the following calendar year.
Education Grant project maximums are $50,000, limited to two (2) years.
Education Grants are paid by reimbursement of allowable project expenses.
Grant Writing Tips
Southern SARE Education Grants are competitive. Each year we receive more grant proposals than we have monies to award funding. Here are some suggestions that might aid in strengthening your proposal:
- Follow the instructions in the Call for Proposal. Failure to follow directions or omit any required information will result in your proposal being rejected.
- Make sure SARE is the right granting organization for your project. Review the proposal guidelines and evaluation criteria in the proposal. Every year we receive a number of well-written, well-designed proposals that don’t clearly address the SARE program’s unique goals and criteria.
- Involve farmers, growers, ranchers and other end-users in the planning, design and implementation of your project.
- Collaborate with other researchers, farmers, or organizations on your project. To be successful, projects should involve a variety of disciplines and areas of skills of expertise.
- Look beyond state lines. Strengthen your proposal by addressing issues that are relevant in several states or regionally, rather than just one state, or a niche area.
- Successful projects include clear goals and objectives. The project must clearly articulate what is being taught, to whom and how the project will accomplish those goals.
- Make sure you include an outreach plan, and have a process in place for evaluating your results. The results must be realistic, acceptable to farmers, logical, and capable of leading to the actions and benefits described in the proposal.
- Clearly outline the activities of your training program and discuss how the activities proposed will reach the target audience and achieve your objectives.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to begin your proposal and to submit it to the SARE Grants Management online system. The deadline for proposal submissions is firm. Anticipate technological glitches, budget issues, user error or other issues that might cause delays.
- Be clear on the “what”, “why”, and “who cares” of your project and how it pertains to sustainable agriculture. This is your “hook” for reviewers. Remember, they get to know you through your proposal. Be sure they understand the importance of your project.
- Avoid jargon and spell out fulls names of acronyms.
- Have a colleague proofread your proposal to identify errors, omissions, or sections that seem unclear.
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