Rodale Institute, in partnership with a team of twelve universities, farming NGOs, and consulting firms, is working with vegetable farmers and farmers markets in the Southern Piedmont to promote the adoption of climate-smart farming practices and expand markets for the sale of climate-smart commodities.
Farmers will be asked to add cover crops to their vegetable rotation. We will monitor greenhouse gas emissions, soil health benefits, economic impacts, and social barriers to the adoption of using cover crops versus not using cover crops on their fields. This information will provide farmers with the data needed to capitalize on carbon market programs and understand how they can better steward their lands and communities while providing recommendations to the USDA for ways to economically and socially support farmers’ transitions to climate-smart agriculture.
Through partnerships with Southern Piedmont farmers markets, we will expand markets for climate-smart commodities in the Southeast. We have designed a marketing campaign that investigates the best strategies for educating consumers about the value-added benefits of purchasing climate-smart commodities. The information gained from this work will help farmers get the value of their work and provide the USDA with recommendations on ways to support climate-smart markets through consumer education.
Opportunity for Farmers & Farmers Markets In the Southern Piedmont
We are looking for diverse vegetable farmers and farmers markets in the Southern Piedmont region who are willing to commit to partnering with us on this historic project. Financial incentives will be provided to farmers and farmers markets who are selected to participate in the program.
Farmer Partners Will:
Follow the planting and cover cropping rotation provided
Commit to provide data via phone application
Participate in project training events
Allow project team scheduled access to enrolled acres for data collection
NOTE: Acreage may not be enrolled in other NRCS cost-share programs for same practices.