Spade & Plow Farms Sow a Sustainable Future with Aid from Santa Clara County's ARI Grants

Spade & Plow Farms Sow a Sustainable Future with Aid from Santa Clara County's ARI GrantsSource: County of Santa Clara
Eileen Vargas
Published on November 28, 2023

In the lush foothills east of Highway 101, hard work and a pioneering spirit have borne fruit in the form of Spade & Plow, a beacon of sustainability against the creeping specter of climate change. This family-owned operation, helmed by the Thorps, has planted its roots deeply into the fertile soil of a historic 107-acre farmstead, one of California's cradles of organic farming. 

But with land prices skyrocketing in Silicon Valley, farming has become an act of defiance, a rebellion supported by Santa Clara County’s novel Agricultural Resilience Incentive (ARI) Grant Program. In this pressing fight against climate change, the Thorps, having secured $25,500 from the program, are not just sowing seeds but planting the very idea of hope—a sentiment echoed by Sam Thorp in an interview with the  County of Santa Clara, “This kind of financial support goes really far, and it shows the farmers that the County hears you, and you’re not in this alone, and they care about you as a farmer and the long-term success of agriculture in the valley.”

The groundbreaking ARI Grant Program, as reported by the County of Santa Clara, dishes out up to $30,000 to farmers and ranchers for eco-smart practices like compost and mulch application, among 25 other approved methods that bolster soil health and carbon capture. The Thorps have poured their grant into compost and cover crops, championing a cycle of life that returns as much to the earth as it reaps.

While speaking of the program’s wider ecological aspirations, Julie Morris, an agricultural liaison with the County for UC Cooperative Extension, praised the futuristic vision of regenerative land management practices. “The ARI Grant Program is following a model of biodiversity, creating wildlife habitat, improving soil health and retaining water when it falls,” she detailed the approach via the County of Santa Clara news report, thinking about the future. 

It's not simply an initiative but a vital strategy in the county's battle with climate change, according to Joe Deviney, the county’s Agricultural Commissioner, who views Spade & Plow as the epitome of a sustainable, community-focused farm. He proudly asserted the firm stance the county has taken in backing small farmers through the innovative grant program. "I’m delighted the County is using these grants to help small farmers improve their land and solve our climate problem, which grows more urgent by the day,” Deviney professed.

Spade & Plow emerges as a paragon amidst the green expanse. With a farm stand on the horizon, this summer and a burgeoning crop list that includes everything from heirloom apricots to a cornucopia of vegetables and colorful flowers, not forgetting the daily yield of 45 dozen eggs, the Thorps' stewardship transcends mere agriculture.