Sustainable Communities

Expanding Agriculture/Community Stability Efforts

Blending sustainable agriculture practices with new community development strategies, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program serves to increase and build resilient farms, businesses and communities. Furthermore, SARE promotes the application of innovative new tools to support sustainable community development activities. The national outreach office of the SARE program is supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

SARE Searchable Database

The SARE searchable database contains general information about all SARE projects. Reports are not filed for at least one year after initial funding.

The Sustainable Community Innovation Grants Program

The Southern SARE Program and the Southern Rural Development Center are interested in investing in Sustainable Community Innovation Grants -- projects that work to strengthen both agriculture and Southern communities by building explicit linkages between sustainable agriculture and community development. Such efforts help improve and advance an understanding of the mutual benefits that accrue to both agriculture and community when such key linkages are established and maintained. The Sustainable Community Innovation Grants program is seeking to invest in projects that embrace and invest in local strategies that are intended to link sound farm and nonfarm economic development with agricultural and natural resource management. Applications are encouraged that seek to increase knowledge, build capacity, and make connections among on- and off-farm sustainable agriculture activities, economic and community development efforts, value-added activities, civic engagement, and local government policy.

Educational Resources


  • Rural RealitiesFarming in the Urban Shadow: Supporting Agriculture at the Rural-Urban Interface, Rural Realities, Vol. 2, Issue 4, 2008

    This brief provides an overview of agriculture in urbanizing parts of the United States. These areas are referred to as "rural-urban interface" (RUI) given that they include both urban and rural land. This brief describes some of the broad trends and developments in commercial farming in these areas, and shows how commercial farming is still quite vibrant and dynamic in many RUI counties. This research suggests that innovative local, state, and national policies can have an important influence on the future of RUI agriculture.