Illinois SARE Grants

North Central Region SARE Grants

Sustainable Food, Fuel and Fiber

Contact Information:
Richard A. Weinzierl, Illinois SARE Coordinator
S334 Turner Hall
1102 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801

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.

Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG)

USDA is making $30 million available through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) to farmers, ranchers, and food entrepreneurs to develop new product lines. Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures are eligible to apply.
Electronic applications are due July 2, 2015. Hard-copy applications are due July 7, 2015.

Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), USDA NRCS seeks to co-invest with partners in innovative, workable, and cost-effective approaches to benefit farming, ranching, and forest operations, local economies, and the communities and resources in a watershed or other geographic area. This will be the second round of projects funded through RCPP with $225 million in funding anticipated.
Pre-proposals are due July 8, 2015.

Farmers Market SNAP Support Grants

USDA Food and Nutrition Service has announced the availability of $3.3 million in Farmers Market SNAP Support Grants in fiscal year 2015. Grant funds must be used to conduct tasks that are necessary for SNAP to operate at farmers markets, and to increase the number and effectiveness of farmers market participation in SNAP. Grants up to $250,000 are offered.
A letter of intent to apply is due May 18, 2015; applications are due June 18, 2015.

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.

Whole Foods Local Producer Loan Program

Applications accepted on a rolling basis

0% Interest Loans Available to Farmers from Kiva Zip!

Rolling deadline

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!

Education Highlights

FW07-319 hoop house construction

Season Extension Topic Room

Season extension--a web-based collection of guides, bulletins, and other materials that grew out of SARE-funded projects and research.

Training manual for new CSA producers

"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: