The World We Want: Growing Benevolent Agricultural Communities

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2023: $166,000.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2026
Grant Recipient: Cornell Small Farms Program
Region: Northeast
State: New York
State Coordinator:
Violet Stone
Cornell Small Farms Program


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, other, workshop
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, community services, leadership development, other, quality of life, social capital, social networks

    Proposal abstract:

    The Northeast SARE community is beginning to awaken to the inner
    work needed to achieve our shared dream to ‘honor the holistic
    connections among land, water, air and all living beings’. 
    To honor our relationships in this interconnected web of life, we
    must first look inward to remember who we are at our
    ‘core’.  Through our previous NESARE professional
    development State Program “Reconnecting with Purpose”, we learned
    that when participants join in community to uncover and reclaim
    their birth gifts, stories of self, and inner identities, they
    develop a sense of awareness, connection and trust with one
    another that builds a collective strength. Collective strength
    enables us to act with the kinds of courage and integrity we need
    to create and sustain the bold, ambitious, urgent change our farm
    and food system badly needs.   Since 2020, our
    facilitator teams have fostered these transformations and impacts
    in the 75 participants we have served, but we have had to turn
    another 75 applications away. The need to develop a collaborator
    network of diverse, experienced facilitators who are prepared to
    design and curate programs for inner work is very high.

    In the first year, our Facilitation/Mentoring team will design a
    Practitioners Preparation course for 22 alumni who are eager to
    dive more deeply into the practices and principles introduced in
    “Reconnecting with Purpose”.  As new Practitioners feel
    ready to live, embody and steward these principles, they will
    work in teams around areas of interest to co-design a range of
    programs, virtual and in-person, open to the entire agricultural
    community.  Themes already identified include exploring
    farmer wellness and balance, fostering interracial agricultural
    allyship and rural community safety, cultivating gratitude and
    reverence for the land, and climate change grief and action.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    15 inspired alumni of the "Reconnecting with Purpose" program community (2020-2023 NY State NESARE PDP Program) will draw upon their gifts, strengths, and newly acquired practitioner skills to co-design and co-facilitate a variety of in-person and virtual programs focused on connection, trust, wellness and healing for 100 sustainable agriculture educators, change-makers, earth-workers, activists and farmers of diverse backgrounds. 

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.