Grant Details

Project Scope


A USDA-Sponsored Farming Project for Diverse Vegetable Farmers in The Southern Piedmont Region

The Southern Piedmont Climate-Smart Project is part of an historic multi-billion dollar investment by the USDA to expand resilient farming practices in the Southeast.

Rodale Institute is partnering with a team of twelve universities, farming NGOs, and consulting firms to heed the USDA’s call for more Climate-Smart farming in the southeast. The Southern Piedmont Climate-Smart Project is working with diverse vegetable farmers and farmers markets in the Southern Piedmont to promote the adoption of climate-smart farming practices and expand markets for the sale of climate-smart commodities through an enhanced incentives program.

This project is part of an historic multibillion-dollar investment by the USDA to expand markets for America’s climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production, and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture.

Grant Opportunity for Southern Piedmont Farmers:

We are partnering with Southern Piedmont organic and conventional diverse vegetable farmers through an enhanced incentives program. Participation is simple:

  • Farmers will be asked to add cover crops to their vegetable rotation in exchange for a share of more than $6 million in cash and non-cash incentives.
  • We will monitor greenhouse gas emissions, soil health benefits, economic impacts, and social barriers to the adoption of using cover crops vs. not using cover crops on their fields.
  • This information will provide farmers with the data needed to capitalize on carbon market programs and understand how they can better steward their lands and communities.
  • Our research will also provide recommendations to the USDA for ways to economically and socially support farmers’ transitions to climate-smart agriculture.

Changing Consumer Behavior at Market
Opportunity for Farmers Markets in the Region

Through partnerships with Southern Piedmont farmers markets, we will expand markets for climate-smart commodities in the Southeast. We have designed a marketing campaign that investigates the best strategies for educating consumers about the value-added benefits of purchasing climate-smart commodities. The information gained from this work will help farmers get the value of their work and provide the USDA with recommendations on ways to support climate-smart markets through consumer education.

economic impact growing stronger farmers

Using state-of-the art technologies and modeling, data collected through this project will help farmers envision how resilient farming techniques will improve their profitability in the short term and protect their farm for the future.

Informational webinars

Farmer Information Session


Farmers Market Information Session