Support the Local Farmer Awards

Our goal is to continue to bring together leaders in the community who want to join us invest in our local farms.  Here is a letter from Harold Grinspoon conveying why he began this initiative:
For at least a decade, I’ve bought all my summer produce from a farm cooperative or CSA – but it was only within the last couple of years that I became aware of the many needs of local farmers.  Wanting to do something and provide financial support, I decided in 2015 to give $75,000 to fund the Local Farmer Awards.  I couldn’t have predicted the response. In three short years, we have received a total of 332 applications for these awards. Amazing – but problematic – for this year (2017) we were able to give awards of $2,500 to only 49 – or 42% -- of those farms that applied.  Farmers are independent people who are disinclined to seek help, so their response was telling me how great their needs are.

What have these awards accomplished? The farmers have all made infrastructure improvements, whether that meant purchasing a new piece of equipment to improve a harvesting process or repairing a fence to keep their livestock protected.  The farmers have told us that these awards accelerate and ensure completion of these much-needed improvements.  These improvements are good for all of us, leading to more local, healthy food on our tables and strengthening our local farmers’ ability to compete in the marketplace.

This year we have had 116 applications and are able to fund 49. If you do the math, you’ve realized that the needs 67 of the applicants could not be addressed. So why am I writing to you? I am asking you, as someone who truly cares about our community, to join the funding team for the Local Farmer Awards. You will be in good company, joining our partner Big Y and our funders HP Hood LLC, Baystate Health, Farm Credit East, MGM Springfield, Springfield Sheraton Monarch Place, and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.  

 All of our farms are members of either Berkshire Grown or CISA (two marvelous organizations that work closely with our local farmers and advise us on this Program).  

I hope you’ll consider joining us. Please know that 100% of your contribution will have a direct impact on our local farms. And there are a lot of farms -- more than 800 farms in our region which have sales of over $10,000 (the amount required for a Local Farmer Award). If you are interested in joining our team of funders, contact our Farm Award Program Director Cari Carpenter at [email protected] or 413-276-0755.  
Please consider expanding your investments in our community to include our farmers whom we all too often take for granted. Thank you.

Special Thanks to Our Partners and Sponsors!

Peoples Bank
Sheraton Springfield
Bay State Health
Farm Credit East
Florence Bank

Special thanks to Berkshire Grown and CISA