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Local Food and Farming Events Calendar

Local Food and Farming events happening throughout the Berkshire region are on the calendar below.

Events displayed in red are open and of interest to the general public; those in green are appropriate for farmers and food businesses.

To subscribe to one or both of the calendars, click on the “+ Google Calendar” button at the bottom right-hand corner. Your calendar will open and you can choose which Berkshire Grown calendar you wish to add – “Community Events” or “Farmers and Food Business Events.” The button looks like this:

Berkshire Grown hosts our own events throughout the year. For a sampling, see the list below and visit the appropriate month on the calendar for details.

Farmer Workshops (January-March)
Spring Supper (March/April)
Summer Event (varies)
Harvest Supper (September)
Indoor Farmers Markets (Williamstown Nov & Dec, Great Barrington Nov-April)

Click here to submit an event to the calendar.

Technical Assistance Opportunities for Farmers

Berkshire Grown has funding to provide individualized technical assistance to beginning farmers and direct market farmers in the form of business and marketing support. The technical assistance can include business growth/planning strategies, including website construction, e-commerce set-up, marketing/advertising, and other business planning needs. The technical assistance can be a single session with a Berkshire Grown staff member or with an external consultant.

Mentorship Opportunities for Beginning Farmers

For beginning farmers looking for a long-term mentorship opportunity, Berkshire Grown is pleased to offer a one-on-one mentorship program. This lightly-structured program will take place over a period of 5 months and include 5 hours of conversation/support from an experienced farmer.

Seeking Producers to Mentor New and Aspiring Farmers

Are you an experienced farmer interested in mentoring a beginning farmer?  Berkshire Grown is seeking mentors from diverse agricultural industries and with expertise to provide in-depth mentorship to beginning farmers. A stipend is provided to mentors for their time. This program has a time commitment of 5 hours over a period of 5 months.
If you are interested in receiving technical assistance support, or in acting as a farmer mentor, please email Jordan Archey at jordan (at) berkshiregrown (dot) org.
Throughout this 2020 Summer Podcast Series, Berkshire Grown hears from farmers and agricultural professionals from both in and beyond the Berkshires to learn about the different ways farmers are farming and getting their products to market.  These 30 minute interviews let farmers share their own experiences out in the field, in the barn and marketing their farm’s products.  Some weeks may include conversations with other ag professionals working on issues related to local food and food access. These podcasts are a part of Berkshire Grown’s Technical Assistance program to connect farmers with other farmers in order to learn from each other

Episode 1, May 28, 2020 – Lee Hennessey of Moxie Ridge Farm & Creamery in Argyle, New York

Episode 2, June 4 –  Abby Ferla of Foxtrot Farm in Ashfield, MA

Episode 3, June 11 – Brian Cole of Bigfoot Farm in Williamstown, MA

Episode 4 , June 18 – Winton Pitcoff, Massachusetts Food System Collaborative Director

Episode 5 , June 25 – Meg Bantle and Laura Tupper-Palches,  Full Well Farm in Adams, MA

Episode 6, July 2 – Jae Silverman of Windrow Farm in Conway MA

        Episode 7, August 3 – Molly Comstock of Colfax Farm in Alford, MA

On August 10, Massachusetts launched the MassGrown Exchange, an online platform designed to facilitate business-to-business connections within the local food system for products and services. The platform was developed following recommendations from the Administration’s Food Security Task Force, which promotes ongoing efforts to ensure that individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth have access to healthy, local food.

The MassGrown Exchange platform will assist Massachusetts food businesses looking to sell and purchase products and services, including:

  • Farmers, fishermen, specialty food producers with wholesale products to sell to restaurants, grocery stores, and other outlets, or searching for equipment or services, such as storage, distribution.
  • Buyers (including supermarkets, institutions, schools, food banks, restaurants, and retail outlets) looking for local food products.
  • Service and equipment providers working with businesses in the food system.

The platform offers a simple registration process for Massachusetts food businesses, which can operate as a buyer or supplier, depending on whether they are looking to acquire products or provide products or services. Potential sellers and buyers are encouraged to register their business and start listing products and services.

Please visit the MassGrown Exchange webpage for details on registering as well as a training video on using the platform.

MDAR also offers the popular Massachusetts Grown and Fresher interactive map, which aims to help the general public find local food and other agricultural products at local farms, farmers markets, fairs, agritourism farms, wineries, breweries, and more.

Developed by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), in collaboration with the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), this platform was originally established to address COVID-19 disruptions to the local food supply in order to assist Massachusetts growers and producers in accessing markets. Given its broad applicability to the food sector in the Commonwealth, this platform will remain in place as a helpful tool and resource beyond the duration of the COVID-19 emergency.

“The MassGrown Exchange is designed to be a simple tool for buyers and suppliers with flexibility to meet the needs of the complex food system,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides.  “Building on the recommendations of the Food Security Task Force, this platform will offer every region across the Commonwealth an opportunity to develop their local food network.”

“The platform is now live and ready for businesses looking to sell and purchase Massachusetts’ products and services,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “It is our hope and intent that this platform will increase business activity and revenue for the agricultural and aquaculture communities.”

“Massachusetts’ historic fishing industry has been working hard to help our state meet the challenges created by the COVID-19 emergency, and this platform provides a new tool that will make it easier for them to sell fresh seafood products,” said Massachusetts Fish and Game Commissioner Ronald Amidon. “Food security is a critical issue, and this platform will help both buyers and sellers, leading to benefits for local food businesses and residents across the Commonwealth.”

 

 

 

The state of Massachusetts has released a Request for Responses (RFR) for project proposals through a new Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program to ensure that individuals and families have access to fresh, local food.

Applications are being sought from among others farms, food producers, retailers, and other food system businesses that are facing disruptions or high demand due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and resulting food insecurity. Eligible projects will support immediate and future needs of the local food system including:

  • information technology needs
  • facility adaptation to new safety guidelines
  • storage, processing, and delivery equipment to adapt to supply chain disruption and serve food insecure residents
  • other strategies that connect local food production with food insecure communities and increase food equity for all

See pages 9-10 of the RFR for examples of eligible projects. This grant covers projects from under $10,000 to up to $500,000. The first round of awards were announced on July 22 for $3 million of the $56 million available. See funded projects here:  www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-awards-3-million-in-food-security-grants.

Some possible projects include:

  • Equipment to support season extension such as hoop houses, greenhouses, or cold storage
  • Adaptation of facilities to meet new safety guidelines, such as new signage and handwashing stations for customers and worker protection
  • Provisions and equipment for remote ordering and payment, and curbside pick-up or delivery
  • Food storage, processing, and delivery equipment to adapt to supply chain disruptions, including for cold and ambient storage; storage containers and bins
  • Purchase of food processing, washing and packing equipment, produce and fruit sorting equipment, cleaning and sanitation equipment
  • Business planning and technical assistance for new crops and business models to secure the local food supply, and ensure its expansion to new markets.
  • Adaptations to farm housing that will support social distancing and other safety protocols adopted in response to COVID-19

Applications are open now and will be accepted on a rolling basis until funding runs out or until September 15, 2020. Projects should be completed by June 30, 2021. Each applicant may submit up to three separate applications. See these FAQs for additional information.

Learn about opportunities for bridge loans to cover up front costs on this reimbursement grant here.

Farm Credit East has released their 2020 guide to Grants and Incentives in the Northeast.

This document contains grants and other incentives available in the Northeast states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island serviced by Farm Credit East. The listings include grant programs, tax incentives and loan programs from various funding sources available to agricultural producers and other entities involved in agriculture or related industries. Please note that as grant programs often change, this list should not be viewed as a comprehensive compilation of all grant opportunities. Interested parties should consult other sources to identify all potential sources of grants and incentives.

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