Northeast Climate Adaptation Fellows Vegetable and Fruit Program Now Accepting Applications for 2021-2022

Day-neutral strawberries growing under low tunnels in black plastic mulch at UNH

Application Deadline: October 1, 2020

Climate change brings challenges for vegetable and small fruit growers.

In the northeastern United States, this includes increasing heavy rains, droughts, and pest problems. For farmers to reduce their risk, they need to adapt. For example, farmers might consider growing different crop varieties or even ‘new’ crops that are better suited to the present (and predicted) growing conditions. Farmers may explore different crop insurance policies or new business structures and revenue sources such as agrotourism or consulting. Many farmers are finding that they need support and more knowledge to confidently and successfully make changes. They want information for adapting that is specific to their operation and their location.  

To address this increasing need, the Climate Adaptation Fellowship was launched in 2019. The program provides a peer-to-peer curriculum for farmers, foresters, and advisors. The learning modules focus on information to help adapt to climate change. The framework is designed to integrate climate science with a land manager’s knowledge. The Northeast Climate Adaptation Fellowship for Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers is now accepting applications. Participants will enhance their knowledge of climate impacts to vegetable and fruit farms in the Northeast. The peer-to-peer program will include resources on how to:

  • adapt management practices to changes in climate,
  • mitigate on-farm greenhouse gas emissions, and
  • encourage other farmers to explore farm-specific climate change adaptation and mitigation measures on their own farms. 

Who should apply?

The Northeast Climate Adaptation Fellowship is open to commercial farmers in the Northeast U.S.* who grow vegetables and/or small fruit. It is also available for agricultural advisors who work with vegetable/small fruit farms in this region. Accepted fellows will complete the program in pairs. Interested parties can apply in pairs OR individually.

Thirty fellows will be selected. They will work in pairs (one farmer, one agricultural advisor) to develop individual, personalized farm adaptation plans. Fellows will also work on publishing outreach materials such as newsletters, blog posts, fact sheets, or presentations. These will share their program experiences and adaptation efforts. Some fellows will also integrate information about climate change adaptation into their advisory/extension work. 

* Farmers and agricultural advisors from the following states are eligible to apply: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C

Apply now

Who has developed this program?

This fellowship program is led by the University of Maine, in collaboration with the USDA Northeast Climate Hub, Rutgers University, the University of Vermont, and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). The Climate Adaptation Fellowship curriculum, completed in 2019, is the result of a multi-year collaboration between multiple land grant universities, USDA agencies, nonprofit organizations and land managers. This work is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number #ENE20-164-34268 with additional support from the USDA Northeast Climate Hub.