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Rodale Institute Receives Largest-Ever Governmental Grant in Support of ‘Climate-Smart Commodities’ | WDIY Local News

Henry Be

The Rodale Institute was recently awarded a historic grant from the federal government to help provide climate-smart commodities. WDIY’s Sarit Laschinsky has more.

The Rodale Institute has announced that it was awarded $25 million from the United States Department of Agriculture, as part of the department’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative.

In a release, Rodale said the grant is the largest federal funding award in the Institute’s 75-year history.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently met with senior Rodale Institute Scientists to discuss the organization’s project, which is aimed at the Southern Piedmont vegetable farming community.

According to the USDA, the project’s results will include building climate-smart markets, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing farmer economic opportunities.

In a statement, Rodale’s chief scientist Dr. Reza Afshar said the project will provide support to small-scale, underserved vegetable farmers in the Southern Piedmont region to help them adopt climate-smart practices, as well as discover barriers to climate-smart commodities for consumers.

Rodale’s COO Dr. Andrew Smith added that the project will bring together organic and conventional farmers, nonprofits, and public, private and historically Black colleges and universities to measure and promote climate-smart commodities.

He said the project is expected to increase acreage and the number of farmers using cover crops and other conservation practices, which will benefit the climate, and improve water quality and biodiversity.

Rodale Institute is listed as the lead partner on the project, and will work with several organizations and academic institutions including the Soil Health Institute, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Georgia Organics, Virginia Association for Biological Farming, Emory University, Clemson University, the University of Georgia, the University of Tennessee, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, NC State University, and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

In total, the USDA is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under its first Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding pool.

(Original air-date: 9/27/22)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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