Toward Sustainability Foundation grants
The Toward Sustainability Foundation funded 11 projects totally $108,000 in 2023.
Check back in Fall 2023 for the 2024 funding cycle call for proposals.
Request for proposals in organic & sustainability systems research, teaching & outreach
Proposal Submission Deadline: December 2, 2022
The Horticulture Section in the School of Integrative Plant Science at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) requests proposals for innovative research, teaching and extension/outreach projects involving organics and sustainability in farm and food systems, and managed landscapes including gardens and green spaces. A gift from the Toward Sustainability Foundation (TSF) will provide support for successful proposals during calendar year 2023. Short proposals are requested with a 6-page maximum (single spaced including an itemized budget, extra pages are allowed for the literature cited section). We invite grant proposals from Cornell University faculty and associates as well as county and regional based Cornell Cooperative Extension educators. Cornell student-led proposals are welcome for state, national or international research, but a Cornell faculty member must indicate his or her commitment to help guide and serve as an advisor for the proposal.
Project proposals will be reviewed and considered for funding up to a maximum $10,000 level, but PIs are encouraged to leverage and combine TSF funds with other sources of financial support to foster more ambitious projects. The project term is Feb. 1, 2023, to Jan. 31, 2024. Multiyear projects may be eligible for continued TSF funding, but a renewal proposal and progress report will be required for each year of TSF support, and the entire cohort of proposals will be reviewed collectively each year, so there is no guarantee of continued funding for multi-year projects. Use of TSF grant funds is restricted to student or staff wages and salaries, materials and supplies, essential travel related directly to the project, and other essential expenses of the proposed activities. Each funded project is required to contribute 1) a 20-minute oral presentation at an October 2023 review day and 2) a comprehensive final report including project outcomes and impacts due by March 31, 2024. Final project reports will be made available to stakeholders via the Internet and in printed form, and should include figures, tables, photographs, written in a style and form accessible to non-scientists.
Goals of the TSF Organics & Sustainability Grants Program for 2023:
- Develop, evaluate, strengthen, and disseminate knowledge about organic and sustainable farming, food systems, gardening and landscapes.
- Encourage and support systems-level studies on environmental and economic impacts, climate change, social equality, and local or regional sustainability of agriculture and food systems.
- Improve and expand organic and sustainability systems knowledge and information through educator enrichment within the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) and Master Gardener Volunteer and youth development networks, within Cornell’s teaching programs, and at farms or demonstration sites, agricultural and food processing facilities, schools, and public educational settings throughout New York State and the Northeast.
- Promote novel and transformative approaches for research, extension, and teaching programs that enhance integrated learning and the knowledge foundation for organic and sustainable farming, gardening, and landscaping.
Priorities for Funding in 2023:
- Projects that address diversity and equity of food systems and sustainable landscapes.
- Projects that address climate smart practices in agri-food systems and managed landscapes.
- Projects that incorporate novel/interactive methods of outreach and teaching including in-person and online modalities.
- Projects that substantially involve undergraduate or graduate student researchers.
- Projects that substantially involve county or region based CCE educators.
- Projects that promote understanding of ecosystem services and environmental impacts of organic and alternative farms, gardens, natural areas, and managed landscapes.
- Projects that use novel approaches to address sustainable local food systems including urban agriculture.
Format for Proposals
6 pages maximum, plus literature cited.
- Project/Program Title: Brief, clear, specific description of the proposed work.
- Principal Investigators and Cooperators: Names, titles, contact addresses and email addresses for
- those who will lead and collaborate in the proposed work and their primary roles.
- Category: For review purposes, please indicate which one of these categories you would like your project to be reviewed under: 1) Farm and Food Systems, 2) Managed Landscapes, 3) Community Sustainability, or 4) International Project.
- Background/Justification: Describe the importance of the proposed research to stated goals and
- priorities of this grants program. Include reasons for doing the work, important problems or opportunities your proposal will address, needs your project will fulfill, and its intended beneficiaries.
- Specific Objectives: Provide clear, complete, logically arranged statements of the specific objectives and testable hypotheses for your project, and its measurable outcomes relating to sustainability.
- Approach/Methods: Briefly describe the overall strategy and methods proposed to achieve your objectives, the site(s) where research will be located, and innovative features of your approach relative to previous efforts and demonstrable needs.
- Intended Outcomes and Impacts: Describe expected outcomes and ways in which your project could enhance knowledge or improve energy efficiency, environmental or economic impacts, and other important attributes in organic farming and food systems sustainability.
Funding is allowed for direct costs and staff or student labor. Budgets must itemize Direct Costs including wages and fringes (the Cornell CALS fringe is 68.8% for staff, 0% for students, if off-campus use your organization’s own justifiable fringe rate), materials and supplies, analytical costs, and essential travel, etc. For undergraduate or graduate student salary, fringes should not be requested. Total funding requests are limited to $10,000 per year including indirect costs of 10% on the total of all direct costs. County/regional CCE requests can add their own justifiable indirect before the 10% Cornell indirect. Project funds remaining unspent on Feb. 1, 2024 will be reclaimed for use by other TSF-funded projects in future years.
68.8% Fringes 2,752
Total Salary & Fringes 6,752
Supplies & Materials 1,450
Total Direct Costs $9,087
Indirect Costs Cornell (10%) 909
Total Direct & IDC $9,996
*Briefly describe major expense items (who will conduct the work & their hours/FTE, summarize main supply / travel expenses)
Completed proposals must be received on or before December 2, 2022 to be eligible for funding.
(PDF format is preferable). Please submit proposals by email to: Catalina Enright (cle46 [at] cornell.edu) School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. Proposals will be evaluated and prioritized for funding by a review panel of Cornell faculty, staff, students, organic farmers and other qualified experts. Project leaders of all successful proposals will be notified about January 31, 2023. Questions? Please contact Catalina Enright (cle46 [at] cornell.edu) or Neil Mattson (nsm47 [at] cornell.edu ()).
Projects funded in 2023
- A novel sensor-based system to improve the quantification and modeling of water and energy efficiency in Controlled Environment Agriculture production
Michael Eaton, Neil Mattson
- Hilltop Community Farm Greenhouse: A teaching and production greenhouse to support incubator farmers, agriculture and horticulture students, 4-H youth, and Master Gardeners
Barbara Neal, Jared Gulliford, Jean Koski, T Hanson
- Sustainable Lawns: Communicating Ecosystem Services and Climate-smart Best Management Practices for a Sustainable Landscape Asset
Jennifer Lerner, Joellen Lampman
- Intercropping to support natural enemies and yield in silage corn
Alison Power, Anna DiPaola
- Ecological Gardening in New York: A Month-by-Month Guide to Sustainably Growing Food, Habitat, and Beauty (PHASE FIVE)
Ashley Helmholdt, Jennie Cramer
- Evaluating Weed Control Options for Sustainable Indigenous Corn Production
- 4-H Food Systems Exploration Afterschool Program
- Translating a comprehensive hemp production manual for New York State Hispanic and Latino population
- Evaluate Pediobius foveolatus parasitoid wasps for biological control of Mexican bean beetle in commercial organic dry bean systems
- Soilless raised bed gardens from recycled inputs: Supporting student-led investigation to advance the circular bionutrient economy
Rebecca Nelson, Ryan Maher
- Can carbon and microbial indicators explain yield-enhancing effects of manure?
Gurpreet Kaur, Quirine M. Ketterings
Projects funded in 2022
- Developing a comprehensive hemp production manual for New York State farmers
Daniela Vergara, Heather Grab
- Growing Relevant and Outstanding Work Skills (GROWS) for unemployed young adults from underserved neighborhoods impacted by gun violence through an urban farm mentoring program
- Supporting Indigenous farmers, undergraduate researchers, and regenerative agriculture through a multi-site pawpaw planting
Anya Osatuke, Marvin P. Pritts
- Ecological gardening in New York: a month-by-month guide to sustainably growing food, habitat, and beauty (phase four)
Ashley Helmholdt, Jennie Cramer
- Legacy effects of tarping on soil biological communities in no-till organic vegetable production
Anu Rangarajan, Kyle Wickings, Ryan Matthew Maher
- Equipping urban growers to recognize arthropod friends and foes
Amara Dunn, Sam Anderson
- Assessment of environmental outcomes of organic and grass-fed dairy farms in New York State, using whole farm system analysis tools.
Quirine M. Ketterings
- Landscaper training pilot
- Toward circular bionutrient economy: Supporting student innovation at Cornell’s student agroecological farm at Dilmun Hill and The Soil Factory in Ithaca
Betsy Leonard, Eli Newell, Jean Bonhotal, Mitch Glass, Rebecca Nelson
- Evaluation of a living mulch cover crop under the trellis to promote vineyard sustainability
- Soil assessment and soil enhancement tools for the incubator farm at hilltop community farm
Projects funded in 2021
- Peer Learning for Sustainable Pest Management in Urban Agriculture
Judson Reid, Caitlin Tucker, Yolanda Gonzalez, Sam Anderson
- Ecological Gardening in Upstate New York: A Month-by-Month Guide to Sustainably Growing Food, Habitat, and Beauty
Jennie Cramer, Ashley Helmholdt
- Evaluating Effects of Controlled Environment Agriculture Lighting Technology on Arthropod Pests
John Sanderson, Neil Mattson
- Assessment of environmental outcomes of organic and grass-fed dairy farms in Delaware County, NY, using whole-farm system analysis tools
Quirine M. Ketterings, Karl Czymmek, Olivia Godbar, Agustin Olivo, Paul Cerosaletti, Dale Dewing
- A Toolkit for Farmers of Color (FOC)
Miriam Boateng, Nathaniel Lartey, Tahirah Cook, Kimberly Vallejo
- Enhancing the Our Changing Menu web-based platform to ensure a timely, informative, and compelling message
Michael Hoffman, Danielle Eiseman
- Novel Strategies for Reliably Producing Low-Waste Vegetables in Urban Environments
Haley Rylander, Jake Holley, Dr. Neil Mattson
- Biopesticides for ornamental production and landscape use: Creating a database of efficacy information and training people to use it
Amara Dunn, Elizabeth Lamb
- Ground Barriers as Pragmatic Management Strategy for Swede Midge in Small Organic Brassica Production: Final Step Before Grower Adoption
Christy Hoepting, Yolanda Chen, Emma van der Heidi
- Advancing On-Farm Management of Foliar Diseases for the Sustainable Table Beet Production
Dr. Julie Kikkert, Dr. Sarah Pethybridge
Projects funded in 2020
Winter Cover Cropping for Northeast High Tunnel Systems
Judson Reid, Caitlin Vore, Betsy Leonard, Ruth and Nelson Hoover
Investigating the Potential of Soil Microbiomes from Fallow Agricultural Fields to Improve the Quality and Pest Resistance of Crop Species
Mia Howard, Andre Kessler, and Jenny Kao-Kniffin
Learning from Farmer-Led Experiments with Natural Pest Control in Malawi
Stephanie Enloe, Rachel Kerr, and Laifolo Dakishoni
Controlled Environment Mealworm Production as a Sustainable Food Source
Haley Rylander, Jake Holley, and Dr. John Sanderson
Ecological Gardening in Upstate New York: A Month-by-Month Guide to Sustainably Growing Food, Habitat, and Beauty - Phase Two
Organic Weed Management in Soybean through Immobilization of Nitrogen Using High Carbon Soil Amendments
Maria Gannett, Dr. Jenny Kao-Kniffin, Dr. Antonino DiTommaso, and Anna Goodman
Stop the Spread of Jumping Worms by Eliminating Cocoons on Shared Plants
Joyce Tomaselli, Elizabeth Lamb, MGV Coordinators and Community Horticulture Educators in the Lower Hudson Valley, Kyle Wickings, and Ashley Helmholdt
Kristen Ossmann, Tracey Testo, Lower Hudson PRISM Program, Rockland Municipal Planning Federation, MGV's at CCE Rockland, and Rockland County Task Force on Water Resources Management
Supporting Pollinators and Natural Enemies of Pests Through Habitat Establishment: Outreach to Gardeners
Elizabeth Lamb, Amara Dunn, Scott McArt, and Bryan Brown
The Influence of Complete Exclusion System on Fruit Drop and Return Bloom in Honey Crisp
Peter Jentsch and Dana Acimovic
Projects funded in 2019
- Publication of the book - Our changing menu: What climate change means to the foods you need and love.
Hoffmann, M., Eiseman, D., Koplinka-Loehr, C.
- Understanding Water Relations in Stacked Weed Management Strategies for Organic, High-Density Apple Production
Brown, K., Peck, G., Zakalik, D., Brown, M.
- Sustainable Agriculture, Biological Control, and Invasive Species: Assessing the role of intercropping and natural enemies in controlling a new invasive maize pest in Kenya - Year 2
Luttermoser, T., Poveda, K., Khan, Z., Midega, C.
- Expanding the Use of Compost for On-site Urban Soil Remediation
Bassuk, N., Heyman, H., Bonhotl, J., Walter, T., Grace, J.
- Ecological Gardening in Upstate New York: A Month-by-Month Guide to Sustainably Growing Food, Habitat, and Beauty
- Assessing methods for and benefits of establishing beneficial insect habitat for growers and gardeners
Lamb, E., Eshenaur, B., Dunn, A., McArt, S., Brown, B.
- Nitrogen for Northeast Winter Greens - Sustainable Inputs
Reid, J., Vore, C., Arnold, P., Arnold, S., Leonard, B., Hoover, N., Davis, M., Printz, M.
- Spatial Risk Mapping of Sustainable Food Systems Threatened by Conflicts with Andean Bears in the Western Ecuadorian Andes
Fuller, A., Stedman, R., Garcia Llore, S.
- Biofuels and Slow Release Fertilizers for Sustainable Farm & Food Production Waste Management
Goldfarb, J., Fiori, L., Ceylan, S.
- Strong Roots Community Garden High-Tunnel Project
Bonaparte, J., Hetzler, P., Filippi, M., O'Neil, K., Berlingi, J., Gabriel, V., Davis, M., Tarver, T., Santos, B., Bucktooth, S., Cree, E., Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Diabetes Center, Akesasne Boys and Girls Club, Akesasne Area Management Board
- Curriculum Development for the Tiger Farm School Apple Orchard
Projects funded in 2018
- Developing improved trainings and outreach programs about botanical pesticides for Malawi smallholder farmers
Kerr, R., Enloe, S., Iverson, A., Dakishoni, L.
- Sustainable Agriculture, Biological Control, and Invasive Species: Assessing the role of intercropping and natural enemies in controlling a new invasive maize pest in Kenya
Luttermoser, T., Poveda, K., Midega, C.
- Evaluation of Vegetable Varieties for Organic Vegetable Production for Both Urban and Rural Farms
Telenko, D., Burley, M., Pozentides, M.
- Land Use Planning to Carry Out Terms of the Blackfeet Water Compact In Collaboration with the Blackfeet Nation
Berger, A., Davis, B., Cerra, J., Birdrattler, L., Kunkel, J., Corum, N.
- Sustainable Home Gardening: Communicating an Integrated Approach and Best Practices for soil health, biological diversity and improved gardening practices
Tomaselli, J., Morrill, A., MGV Coordinators in Lower Hudson Valley
- Connecting Consumer Acceptability and Farm Productivity to Improve Collard Varieties for East African Growers
Swegarden, H., Griffiths, P., Wasonga, C., Nyambok, D., Dinssa, F.
- Designing labor-‐saving weed management strategies for reduced tillage organic vegetables (Year 2)
Rylander, H., Rangarajan, A., Maher, R., Caldwell, B., Butler-Jones, A.
- Promoting a sustainable framework for tree growth and carbon storage in managed forests under drought
Zwetsloot, M., Bauerle, T., Grams, T.
- Cost Effective Major Weed Remediation in Organic Systems
Sannes, N., Leonard, B., DiTommaso, T., Ryan, M.
- Screening Table Beet Cultivars for Susceptibility to Phoma Leaf Spot and Horticultural Characteristics Under New York Growing Conditions
Pethybridge, S., Kikkert, J.
- Tiger Farm Teaching Orchard
Neal, B., Taylor, S., Eckstrom, N.
- Rainwater Collection and Irrigation Demonstration Site at Cutler Botanic Garden, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Broome County
Svoboda, L., Roberts, B., Mathers, K., Zapata, J.
Projects funded in 2017
- Dilmun Hill: A Small-Farm Cultivator Tractor for Student-Led Research, Education and Outreach
Evans, G., DiTomasso, T., Leonard, B., Caldwell, B., Ryan, M., Schindelbeck, R., Maher, R., Pritts, M., Russell-Anelli, J., Puka-Beals, J.
- Modifying Shoot Tip Management to Reduce Cluster Compactness and Fungicide Use in Grapes
Kearney, A., Vanden Heuvel, J., Schmit, T., Wise, A.
- Designing Labor-saving Weed Management Strategies for Reduced Tillage Organic Vegetables
Maher, R., Rangarajan, A., Caldwell, B.
- Organic Management of Cercospora Leaf Spot in Table Beets
Kikkert, J., Pethybridge, S.
- Evaluation and Demonstration of Integrated Disease and Weed Management Options for Organic Vegetable Productions: Year Two
Telenko, D., Hadad, R., Reid, J., Walley-Stoll, K.
- Prevention of Brassica Crop Losses From New Invasive Species, Swede Midge on At‐risk Small‐scale Organic farms: Part III
Hoepting, C., Erik, Printz, M., Chen, Y.
- Continuing Best Management Practices for Longterm High Tunnel Soil Sustainability
Reid, J., Hall, C., Ramsey, E.
- Development of Hydroponic Production Systems for Strawberry Production
Timmons, M., Mattson, N., Joyce, L., Gandelman, A., Doyle-Burr, S.
- Why Compost: Communicating the Positive Effect of Organic Material on Soil Health and Water and Nutrient Management in Sustainable Home Gardens
Tomaselli, J., Morrill, A., Stengle, J., Christian-Reuter, A., Valenti, D., Lester, D., Albam, A., Crawford, D., Shayler, H.
- Compost Quality for Urban Soil Remediation
Bassuk, N., Neal, B., Grace, J., Van Es, H., Ristow, A., Fraccaroli, C.
- Evaluation of Biopesticides for Control of Botrytis Bunch Rot and Sour Rot in Winegrapes
Wise, A., Wilcox, W.
Projects funded in 2016
- Evaluation & Demonstration of Integrated Disease & Weed Management Options for Organic Vegetable Production
Telenko, D., Hadad, R., Reid, J., Walley-Stoll, K.
- Bee Friendly Backyards: Promoting Landscape Practices that Support Pollinators & other Beneficial Insects
Stengle, J., Mullen, E., Lamb, E.
- Assessing Growers, Consumers, and University Stakeholders Understanding of Sustainable Fruit Production
Peck, G., Xin, S.
- Healthy Soils for Healthy Food: Refining Best Practices for Compost Use in Urban Gardens
Shayler, H., McBride,M., Bonhotal, J., Russell-Anelli, J., Cheng,Z., Spliethoff, H.
- Prevention of Brassica crop losses from new invasive species, swede midge on at-risk small-scale organic farms: part ll
Hoepting, C., Martin, L., Johns,L., Printz, M.,Fellenz, A.
- Best Management Practices for long term high tunnel soil sustainability
Reid, J., Fellenz, A., Hall, C., Hutchinson, A.
- Field -test Gardening in a Warming World: A Guide for Garden-Based Educators & Volunteers
Brewer, L, Walsh, M., Nelson, W.
- Evaluating soil water dynamics in reduced tillage organic vegetable systems
Maher, R., Rangarajan, A.
- Investigating under-vine cover crops to eliminate herbicide use & reduce management costs in vigorous vineyards in the Finger Lakes region
Chou, M., Vanden Heuvel, J., Mansfield, A.,
- Silicon-mediated alteration of plant secondary metabolism & its effects on plant direct & indirect resistance to herbivory
Kessler, A., Mattson, N.
- Dilmun Hill: High Tunnel for Student-Led Education, Research, and Production
Hutchinson, A., etc.
- Cover crop & weed Management in a living mulch plus reduced-rate herbicide system for wide-row vegetables
DiTommaso, A., Bhaskar, V.
Projects funded in 2015
- Soilless Media for Sustainable Rooftop Farming
Whitlow, T, Harada, Y
- Prevention of Brassica crop losses from new invasive species, swede midge on at-risk small-scale organic farms
Hoepting, C, Chen, Y, Khodorkovskie, S,
- Growing Organic Grains for Local Specialty Markets
Kiraly, M, Aldrich, J,Bergstrom, G, DiTommaso, A,
- Development and Extension of Improved Organic Apple Production Technology for the Eastern USA
Agnello, A, Robinson, T, Cox, K, Jentsch, P
- Investigating Mechanisms for Vermicompost Promotion of Tomato Growth in Organic Production Systems
Brace, S, Ucros, J, Kao-Kniffin, J, Mattson, N
- Sustainable Production of Common Beans in East Africa Through Improvement of Plant Architecture
- Bee clubs and best practices: Social learning and politics in NYS's beekeeping associations
Andrews, E, McMichael, P
- Investigating under-vine cover crops to eliminate herbicide use and reduce management costs in vigorous vineyards in the Finger Lakes region
Chou, Ming-Yi, Vanden Heuvel, J, Mansfield, A,Weimann, D
- Energy efficient weed management strategies in no-till permanent vegetable beds
Prisloe, A, DiTomasso, A, Ryan, M
- Testing a Sustainable Model for Striped Cucumber Beetle Management in Zucchini
Hoffmann, M, Mazourek, M, Brzozowski, L
- Developing a guide for CCE Educators and Master Gardener Volunteers on organic and sustainable gardening techniques for climate change adaptation and mitigation
Nelson, W, Walsh, M, Brewer, L
- Tioga County Demonstration Garden: Sustainable Residential Landscape, Herb Garden and Butterfly Garden
Projects funded in 2014
- Producing syrup from black walnut trees: A niche marketing opportunity for sugarmakers
Mudge, K, Farrell, M
- Arsenic Accumulation in Arugula: A Multi-Faceted Solution in Companion Cropping
Lim, M, Kessler, A, McBride, Murray
- Development of Plant Microbiomes to Enhance Nutrient Use Efficiency in Crops
Ucros, J, Kao-Kniffin, J
- Identification and Application of Organic Fertilizers in Hydroponic Production
Timmons, M, Mattson, N
- Organic Sustainability Demonstration Plot at the St. Lawrence County CCE Learning Farm: Fruit & Nut Production with Rotational Grazing
Ames, P, Brewer, L, Gabriel, S, O'Neil, K, Buchanan, B, Hetzler,P, Hodge, B, Collarusso, K
- Interactions Between Plant Viruses & Nitrogen-fixing Bacteria: Implications for Organic Bean Production
Marchetto, K, Power, A, Kessler, A
- Is Augmentative Biological Control Useful in Complex Landscapes?
Perez-Alvarez, R, Poveda,K
- Testing the Feasibility of Stropharia rugoso-annulata Mushroom Cultivation in Community Gardens on Shrub Willow (Salix spp.) & Ash (Fraxinus spp.) wood chips
Lyons, J, Smart, L, Fabio, E, Brown, S
- Long Term Remediation of Urban Soils With Organic Amendments
Bassuk, N, Sax, M, VanEs, H, Rakow, D
- Demonstrating Climate Change Effects Using a High Tunnel
Wien, C, Cerra, J, Skelly, Bassuk, N, Levy, D, Lekstutis, I
- Promoting Indigenous Plant Knowledge for Sustainable Food Systems in the Ethiopian Highlands
Ruelle, M, Kassam, K
- A New Model for CCE Master Gardener Volunteer Training Incorporating Integrated Learning Practices
Gardener, C, Brewer, L
- Questions? Contact Neil Mattson (nsm47 [at] cornell.edu).
- See also: For 10 years, foundation of anonymous alumna has been funding sustainability projects (Cornell Chronicle 2009-03-04]