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Farmers in Western Massachusetts are invited to apply for Local Farmer Awards of up to $2,500. These awards are for capital/infrastructure improvement projects related to growing, harvesting, and processing that will help farms compete in the marketplace.  The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation (HGCF), in partnership with Big Y and with the support of other funders, is entering the eighth year of the awards program which has helped more than 225 farmers carry out a total of 400 projects.  

 

The deadline for applying is Jan. 31, 2022. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit the website for more information www.farmerawards.org

 

Some examples of how the awards have been used include a commercial egg washer, irrigation systems, shade cloth for greenhouse, hi-tensile fencing for rotational grazing, feed wagon, and maple cream machine.

 

“Farmers don’t typically ask for help,” philanthropist and project founder Harold Grinspoon noted. “They are genuinely appreciative of these awards and use the money in creative ways for projects to help their businesses.”  

 

To be eligible, farms must have gross sales of $10,000 or above and either be a member of Berkshire Grown or Community Involves in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) or reside in one the four counties of Western Massachusetts.   

 

Daily News

AGAWAM — Starting Jan. 1, farmers in Western Mass. are invited to apply for Local Farmer Awards of up to $2,500. These awards are for capital and infrastructure-improvement projects related to growing, harvesting, and processing that will help farms compete in the marketplace.

The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, in partnership with Big Y and with the support of other funders, is entering the eighth year of the awards program, which has helped more than 225 farmers carry out a total of 400 projects.

Some examples of how the awards have been used include a commercial egg washer, irrigation systems, shade cloth for a greenhouse, high-tensile fencing for rotational grazing, a feed wagon, and a maple cream machine. Philanthropist and project founder Harold Grinspoon noted that “farmers don’t typically ask for help. They are genuinely appreciative of these awards and use the money in creative ways for projects to help their businesses.”

To be eligible, farms must have gross sales of $10,000 or above and either be a member of Berkshire Grown or Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture or reside in one the four counties of Western Mass.

The deadline for applying is Jan. 31. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit www.farmerawards.org for more information.

Daily News

AGAWAM — The Local Farmer Awards program, funded since 2015 by community philanthropic leaders and businesses, recently distributed checks of up to $2,500 to 81 farmers in Western Mass. and Eastern New York. The funds, totaling $180,000, support infrastructure improvements and equipment.

“Our local farmers continue to be an intrinsic and crucial part of our communities. We recognize their growing need for assistance now more than ever,” said funding partner Charles D’Amour, Big Y president and CEO. “For over 85 years, Big Y has been proud to support hardworking farmers and their families, and as partners with the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, we provide one more way to help our local growers thrive.”

In its short history, the awards program has made more than $900,000 available to local growers, who have become better positioned to expand, compete in the marketplace, and provide the public with the health and environmental benefits of local farming.

Not surprisingly, the pandemic fueled a need for some unexpected projects and new equipment. Stillman Quality Meats in Hardwick won its award to purchase a commercial egg-washing machine necessitated by a 10-fold increase in demand for eggs, a demand now anticipated to grow.

Winner Gideon Porth, owner of Atlas Farm in Deerfield, added that “we are incredibly grateful for funds to buy a flat-filling machine for our greenhouse operation, a quantum leap in both labor efficiency and uniformity of flats for seeding. Our plants and people are loving it.”

Program funders, all of whom recognize the urgent need to invest in local farms, include the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation in partnership with Big Y, along with Ann and Steve Davis, the DeNucci Group at Merrill Lynch, Farm Credit East, HP Hood LLC, PeoplesBank, Audrey and Chick Taylor, Baystate Health, Country Bank, and others.

Local Farmer Awards Director Cari Carpenter of the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation noted that farmers have exhibited enormous persistence, creativity, and great spirit throughout COVID-19. “We are incredibly fortunate to be able to purchase local farm products at farmers’ markets, farm stands, CSA [community supported agriculture] shares, and in our grocery stores. We urge all consumers to continue buying local farm products whenever and wherever they can.”

Daily News

AGAWAM — At an essential time for local farmers, a group of community philanthropic leaders and businesses have come together to fund the Local Farmer Awards for the sixth year in a row. More than 70 farmers in Western Mass. received checks of up to $2,500 for farm infrastructure improvements and equipment. In all, this year’s Local Farmer Awards totaled $157,500.

Over the past five years, the Local Farmer Awards have provided nearly $750,000 to support local growers, helping farmers expand their businesses, compete in the marketplace, and continue to provide the health and environmental benefits of local farming. As COVID-19 causes farmers to lose large customers such as restaurants and schools, the need for assistance is greater than ever.

“We are excited and honored to receive this award, and we are committed to growing healthy, organic food for our community,” said Casey Steinberg of Old Friends Farm. “People say that it takes a village to raise a child. Similarly, it takes a community to raise a farm and grow a vibrant local food system. We are honored and humbled by the outpouring of support from our customers and all the ways we are held and embraced.”

Local Farmer Award funders have come together because they recognize the importance of investing in local farms. They include the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation in partnership with Big Y along with Ann and Steve Davis, Charles and Elizabeth D’Amour, HP Hood LLC, Farm Credit East, PeoplesBank, Baystate Health, Eastern States Exposition, and others.

“Now more than ever, our local farmers and their farms are an intrinsic and crucial part of our communities. We recognize their growing need for assistance,” said Big Y President and CEO Charles D’Amour. “For nearly 85 years, Big Y has been proud to support hardworking farmers and their families, and during this time we are pleased to partner with the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation to provide one more way to help our local growers thrive.”

The Local Farmer Awards team notes that farmers are showing creativity and resilience in these challenging times by shifting how and where they sell their products. Director Cari Carpenter noted that “we have many great options for purchasing local farm products, and we can support our farmers by buying their products whenever and wherever we can.”

Berkshire Grown and Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, both advocates for farming and agriculture, have provided guidance for this program since its inception. A farmer celebration event will be held in late fall to recognize all applicants and promote local agriculture.

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