Zachary Paige

Zachary Paige at North Circle Seeds in Vergas was awarded $29,920 from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program for the project, “Increasing Capacity for Latino Farmers’ Seed and Food Production with Culturally Important Crops.”

“Three farmers, Rodrigo Cala of Cala Farm LLC, Javier Garcia of Auga Gorda Cooperative, and myself are collaborating to collectively grow, market and save seeds from culturally important crops; jalapeños and ghost peppers, white corn for elote and tortillas, and garlic,” said Paige.

This grant was awarded as part of NCR-SARE’s Farmer Rancher Grant Program, a competitive grant program for farmers and ranchers who want to explore sustainable solutions to problems through on-farm research, demonstration, and education projects. 

The focus for each of the NCR-SARE grant programs is on research and education. Funding considerations are based on how well the applicant presents the problem being addressed, the project’s relevance to sustainable agriculture in the 12-state North Central region, and how well it aligns with NCR-SARE’s goals, among other factors specific to each grant program.

NCR-SARE’s Administrative Council (AC) members decide which projects will receive SARE funds. The AC includes a diverse mix of agricultural stakeholders in the region. Council members hail from regional farms, ranches, the Cooperative Extension Service, universities, federal agencies, and nonprofits. 

Since 1988, the SARE program has helped advance farming systems that are economically viable, environmentally sound, and good for communities through a nationwide research and education grants program. The program, part of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, funds projects and conducts outreach designed to improve agricultural systems.