Daily News

Tenth Year of Local Farmer Awards Helps 100 Local Farms Make Improvements

AGAWAM — Checks of up to $2,500 have been sent to 100 Western Mass. farms that are recipients of this year’s Local Farmer Awards. Supporting a diverse range of farm operations and infrastructure projects, the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, in partnership with Big Y and the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, along with other funders, issued a record number of awards in the program’s 10th year.

A team of independent reviewers read each of the 199 applications submitted this year. These reviewers selected 100 farms to receive a 2024 grant from the Local Farmer Awards. The capital projects include the purchase of an egg-washing machine, livestock pasture expansion, reusable harvest bins, a cover-crop flail mower for reduced tillage, mobile chicken coops, and many more.

Elyse Cote, production manager at Mountain View Farm in Easthampton, explained that “this award will help us purchase a Tilmor mounted tine weeder, allowing us to invest in a time-saving cultivation technique that I am very excited to get to use this growing season. We are super appreciative of this support from our community.”

Harold Grinspoon, philanthropist and founder of the program, noted that “the farmers in our region have done so much for our economy and food supply, yet these wonderful folks never ask for anything. I’m so proud that the Local Farmer Awards have served their needs for the past 10 years with cash awards for capital improvements amounting to $1.5 million.”

The program funders collectively contributed more than $230,000 this year to assist these local farmers. Funders include the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, Big Y, Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, PeoplesBank, Ann and Steve Davis, Charles and Elizabeth D’Amour, Barbara Deslauriers, Audrey and Chick Taylor, Andrews, Farm Credit East, Hood, the DeNucci Group at Merrill, Baystate Health, Country Bank, Eastern States Exposition, Three County Fair, bankESB, and Franklin First Federal Credit Union.

“We are proud to support the diverse farming enterprises featured in this year’s winning selection,” said John Lee, president of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture.

Cari Carpenter, Local Farmer Awards director, added that “we are delighted to be able to support 100 farms in our 10th year. In 2015, our inaugural year, we provided funds for 33 farms. We would have liked to have been able to provide support to more of the farms that applied this year, but our fund limit required the reviewers to make some difficult choices.”

Anyone interested in supporting the 2025 Local Farmer Awards should email Carpenter at [email protected].