Application Information



We are pleased to launch the fifth year of the Local Farmer Awards! In partnership with BIG Y and our sponsors FRIENDLY'SHP HOOD LLCPEOPLE'S BANKSPRINGFIELD SHERATON MONARCH PLACE, Ann and Steve Davis, BAYSTATE HEALTHFARM CREDIT EASTFLORENCE BANK,  we plan to distribute to local farmers grants totaling over $120,000.

Award Amount: $2,500

If your farm has an infrastructure project that will help you compete in the marketplace, tell us how an award of up to $2,500 for the specific project could help.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must have gross sales of at least $10,000
  • Must be a member of Berkshire Grown or CISA -- OR
  • If not a member of Berkshire Grown or CISA, farm must be located in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin or Berkshire County of Massachusetts
  • Farm must grow, harvest, and market your own agricultural products as more than 50% of your economic activity
  • Funds must be used for farm equipment and/or physical improvements
  • Project must start and finish in calendar year 2019

2019 Schedule

  • Application Opens – January 1, 2019
  • Application Closes – January 31, 2019
  • Final Decisions – Mid-March
  • Awards Issued – Early April or within 2 weeks of anticipated project start date

Additional Information:

  • This is a competitive application for a limited number of awards (For example, we received 147 applications in 2018 and gave 59 awards.)
  • Applications review process is “blind,” meaning reviewers do not know the names of the farmers or farms whose applications are being evaluated. Reviewers do have farming knowledge and experience. They care.
  • If you applied and did not win an award, we encourage you to try again. If you applied and did receive an award in the past, we also encourage you to apply again.

Required on your application:

  • General information about your farm such as location, gross sales, and products you sell and sales outlets
  • Specific details about your proposed project, timeline, and the impact it would have on your business

Examples of winning projects:

In 2018, Award Amounts (based on the farmer requests) ranged from $600-2,500
 

Expands Business

  • High-tunnel Irrigation
  • Irrigation equipment
  • Row cover and supports to protect crops from deer
  • Winter water and electricity
  • Walk-in cooler
  • Egg Washer

Improve Farm Efficiency   

  • Electric Fencing
  • Insect exclusion netting
  • Trailer high crop sprayer
  • Vacuum Seeder
  • High Tunnel Updates
  • Jang Seeders
  • Herbal processing equipment upgrade
  • Bulk Grain Silo
2018 winners and project titles

 

Examples of what the award cannot be used for:

  • Hiring staff
  • Marketing
  • Purchasing livestock
  • Solely cosmetic improvements

Tips for a strong application:

  • State why the proposed project is critical or valuable to your farm's future and how it will help increase production.
  • If possible, provide quantitative information on how the project will provide a return on investment.
  • Explain why a grant of $2500 will make a difference even if the project has a very large price tag.
  • Describe the problem and how this project will help you solve it.
  • Be descriptive – tell a story.  Use words like “For example…”
  • Keep your project proposal as central to the core agriculture process as possible.
  • Recent winning applications have the following characteristics:
    • Well thought through
    • Concise and descriptive
    • Conveyed by showing direct impact of the project. This is often best done with numbers, but a few have been able to describe impact without numbers.
  • Showed facts related to the project
  • Persuasive about why the award was so important to their farm; told a story
  • Correct in terms of spelling and grammar (Ask someone else to proofread.)
  • This worksheet may help you work on a draft of your project descriptions 

See Application Samples
 

 

Apply January 1st-31st

Application Submission FAQs 
 

Congratuations to our award recipients! See past years:

Click below for maps of our Local Farmer Award Recipients
2018 Winners
2015-2017 Winners

Read about us in the Winter 2017 Edition of the Edible Pioneer Valley
 

Farmer Stories

Anna Meyer, hart Farm
Sarah & Ryan Voiland, Red Fire Farm
Nate Frigard, Crimson & Clover Farm

Contact

For more information please contact Cari Carpenter: [email protected] or 413-276-0831.