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Two grants from American Farmland Trust will benefit RI farmers

This spring, the American Farmland Trust awarded SCLT a $5,000 grant toward the purchase of The Good Earth Farm in Cranston and awarded a $5,000 grant to farmers Teo and Margarita Martinez, whose business is located at Urban Edge Farm.

“AFT is thrilled to support SCLT’s purchase of Good Earth Farm through its 2021 New England Farmer Microgrants Program,” said Jamie Pottern, AFT’s New England program manager. “These funds are designed to provide direct financial assistance to support land access, increase productivity on new land, or support the transition of farmland to a new generation of farmers in New England. This project supports all three of our Program’s goals and specifically will provide secure access to affordable land for farmers of color.

“With Rhode Island having the most expensive farmland in the country,’ she continued, “[and] facing growing threats to agriculture and huge disparities in land access for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color farmers—we are honored to support SCLT’s impactful land acquisition project along with their many project partners.”

Teo and Margarita have been cultivating 2 acres of land at Urban Edge Farm since 2018. They are among nearly 20 farmers growing on the property, which SCLT manages for the RI Department of Environmental Management. Their AFT grant will enable them to buy a an Italian-made, two-wheel BCS tractor to assist with prepping and maintaining the fields.

Teo and Margarita do a great job raising vegetables and honey for their community,” said Ben Torpey, UEF manager. “The tractor will help Teo to control weeds, prepare beds efficiently and increase the production of crops such as pinto beans, winter squash, cilantro, tomatoes, lettuce and much more.”

American Farmland Trust is a national conservation organization that helps protect farmland, promotes environmentally sustainable farming practices, and enables farmers to stay on their land.