$7 Million in State Grants Announced for Western Mass. Farms, Food Businesses
Western Massachusetts farms and food businesses are about to receive some much-needed support from the state. The Mass. Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program (FSIG) has announced $22.5 million in awards, $7 million of which is coming to the four counties of Western Mass. CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) helped 18 of those recipients secure $3.6 million in funding.
FSIG was conceived of by the Food Security Task Force that was established by the state in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and it was formalized by the Baker-Polito administration in 2020. Its goal is to strengthen the local food system as COVID-19 both threatens small businesses and increases food insecurity and hunger. This recent announcement marks the second round of funding, with the possibility of a third round to come.
“This funding enables farms and food businesses to invest in their businesses, meeting their immediate needs and strengthening their businesses into the future,” said Philip Korman, CISA’s executive director. “We’re so pleased that the state, with strong support from our Western Mass. legislators, has made this crucial investment in food security and infrastructure. And I’m very proud that CISA’s skilled staff supported so many businesses in successfully applying for this funding.”
A statewide coalition of farm and food system advocates, including CISA, has pushed for $30 million per year for the next three years to be allocated to FSIG, with resources dedicated to helping farmers navigate the application process. “We have already begun to see the enormous difference this funding can make for local farms and related businesses,” said Korman. “With support to invest in infrastructure like refrigeration, storage, and transportation, they can provide more food to their neighbors. We are working with our legislators to continue this investment, and to ensure that these funds are flexible and responsive to the needs of the farmers and others they are helping.”
Funded projects range from food pantries and other emergency food providers to grocery stores, food distribution companies, and farms. Funded projects supported by CISA are: Brookfield Farm (Amherst); Diemand Farm (Wendell); Honey Pot Produce Co. Inc. (Hadley); Agric Organics Urban Farm (Wilbraham); Atlas Farm (Deerfield); Crimson & Clover Farm (Florence); Winter Moon Roots (Hadley); D.A. Smiarowski Farms (Sunderland); Fruit Fair (Chicopee); Full Well Farm (Adams); and Greenfield Farmers’ Market (Greenfield)
Also, Mayval Farm (Westhampton); Lyonsville Farm, LLC (Charlemont); Red Fire Farm (Montague/Granby); Reed Farm (Sunderland); Sawyer Farm (Worthington); Simple Gifts Farm (Amherst); and Woven Roots Farm (Tyringham)