Welcome to Illinois SARE Program
Since 1988, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program has advanced profitable and environmentally sound farming systems that are good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program.
Applications for EQIP are accepted on a continuous basis; however Illinois NRCS has established two application cutoff dates for review of applications: November 21, 2014 and January 16, 2015.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts. These contracts provide financial assistance for producers to address soil, water and related natural resource concerns on private agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. In addition, a purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations. Throughout Illinois, producers have received assistance to implement conservation practices that include, but are not limited to, nutrient management, cover crops, terraces, grassed waterways, manure management facilities, and pasture management.
Food Chapter of the Awesome Foundation / (Rolling deadlines)
Now accepting applications to further food awesomeness in the universe. Monthly awards of $1,000 are given and anyone can apply. Applications are accepted on a recurring basis.
Farm Aid (Rolling deadlines) provides grants to IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit (family farm and rural service) organizations that fulfill the goals of three different programs:
Helping Farmers Thrive
Grants in this category fund organizations that provide farmers with the tools and resources they need to get started on the land, access new markets, transition to more sustainable farming practices, produce renewable fuels and stay on the land in the face of financial crisis and natural disasters.
Taking Action to Change the System
Grants in this category fund organizations that promote fair farm policies and grassroots organizing campaigns to defend and bolster family farm agriculture, lifting the voices of family farmers and promoting their interests on a local, regional or national level.
Growing the Good Food Movement
Grants in this category fund organizations that are creating innovative programs that build local and regional food systems, connecting farmers directly to consumers and creating new value-added markets for family farmers.
Applications accepted on a rolling basis
- Streamlined process with fees, interest rates, and paperwork minimized
- Targeted loan amounts between $1,000 and $100,000 (maximum $25,000 for start-ups)
- Loan amount not to exceed 80% of total project cost
- Low, fixed interest rates (currently between 5% and 9%)
Kiva Zip is a non-profit loan program for startup folks without startup money and break-even folks who want to expand towards profitability. Apply for up to $5000 in loans and pay 0% interest. No minimum credit score required and 6 month grace period for start-ups!
Season extension--a web-based collection of guides, bulletins, and other materials that grew out of SARE-funded projects and research.
"The purpose of this manual is to assist new and prospective CSA farmers by providing some basic 'nuts and bolts' of CSA management without losing sight of the fact that each CSA has its own unique personality and set of demands," said Laura DeLind, project cooperator.
SARE's Learning Center offers a variety of sustainable agriculture information including:
- Production and marketing
- Practical handbooks
- Free bulletins
- Online courses
- How-to fact sheets based on SARE research projects