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2022 Guide to Local Food & Farms

Berkshire Grown’s Guide to Local Food and Farms is the region’s most comprehensive guide to farms, farmers markets, and restaurants offering local foods — use it to find farm stands, CSA farms, pick-your-own farms and orchards, as well as locally sourced value-added products like charcuterie, preserves, and fermented foods. Learn where SNAP, HIP, Market Match and other benefits are offered at farm stands and grocers in the Berkshire region as well as a reference section for the food pantries spread across the county. Keep the 2022 Guide to Local Farms & Foods handy and use it frequently!

Open for Applications – MDAR is now accepting applications from agricultural operations who wish to participate in the Department’s Environmental & Energy grant programs. Grants are available to help agricultural operations make farm improvements that enhance their economic viability while working to prevent negative impacts to environmental resource, adapting to and mitigating climate change, improving energy efficiency, and adopting renewable energy technologies.

Climate Smart Agriculture Program (CSAP)

The Climate Smart Agriculture Program links MDAR’s water, energy and climate grants together into one application. This includes the Agricultural Climate Resiliency & Efficiencies (ACRE) Program, the Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP), and the Agricultural Energy Grant Program (ENER). This combined program continues the goals of the three individual grants by implementing projects that help the agricultural sector adapt to climate change, mitigate climate change, reducing or preventing impacts to natural resources that may result from agricultural practices, and that improve energy efficiency and facilitate adoption of alternative clean energy technologies.

The CSAP grant is broken into two sections:

·     Section I: Environment – for environmental projects such as soil health, water use efficiency, or other projects working towards reducing or limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

·     Section II: Energy – Ag-Energy projects to improve energy efficiency or to facilitate clean energy adoption.

Applicants can apply to either, or both sections. Participants selected for funding under either section are provided with reimbursement grants for 80% of total project costs up to $50,000.

Applications due: 4:00 pm on Friday, June 10, 2022 – Details here.

For more information contact:

Section I: Environment: Laura Maul at 617-626 1739, Laura.Maul@mass.gov

Section II: Energy: Gerry Palano at 617-626 1706, Gerald.Palano@mass.gov

This grant program will provide funds for established value-added dairy processors and producer associations to access professional marketing and branding services to elevate value-added dairy businesses. Projects funded by this grant will increase the exposure and promotion of regionally produced dairy products guided by marketing/branding professionals. Funded projects will increase consumer awareness of products, develop market channels and distribution opportunities to increase product placement, support innovative strategies to increase consumption, and/or increase business revenues. Additionally, up to 25% of the grant funds may be used to implement the strategy and/or content developed by the contractor.

Grant range: $10,000 – $50,000, with 25% match requirement

Deadline: June 23, 2022

Learn more and apply at: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/dbic/activities/dairy-marketing-branding-services-grant

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources CSAP Grant

MDAR’s Climate Smart Agriculture Program (CSAP) grant is open! The deadline for submission is 4:00pm on Friday, June 10th. If you have questions about the CSAP grant, or are looking for help completing the application, email MFEP or call 413-727-3090.

Rural Energy For America Program (REAP)

The next REAP deadline for renewable energy and energy efficiency grants and loan guarantees is October 31, 2022. For more information on applying, click here. If you have questions about the REAP grant, email the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program or call 413-727-3090.

Grant Application Assistance

Need help with your MDAR or REAP grant application? The Massachusetts Farm Energy Program helps farms prepare these applications at no cost. REAP applications can be submitted any time, so contact them now!

The Baker-Polito Administration earlier this week announced $22.5 million in funding to food producers across the Commonwealth, continuing ongoing efforts to address food insecurity issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program seeks to ensure local food producers are better connected to a robust and resilient food supply system in order to mitigate future food supply and distribution issues. This year’s recipients of grant funding represent a variety of sectors, including farms, fisheries, schools, nonprofits, for profits, food pantries, municipalities, distributors/suppliers, and other entities.  Thirteen grants were awarded in the Berkshires.

In Pittsfield, Roots Rising was awarded funding toward building a new Youth Farm which will serve as a training ground for youth, a community and food hub, and a headquarters for the organization.  Roots Rising’s Youth Farm will be teen-powered and community centered, and will be an innovative approach to youth empowerment, food justice and sustainable development.

Full Well Farm in Adams will use the funds to build a climate battery heated greenhouse. The infrastructure improvement “will allow us to produce vegetables year-round, improve our production of summer favorites like tomatoes, and allow us to move our seedling production to our own farm rather than renting space”, said farmers Meg Bantle and Laura Tupper-Palches.

“Ensuring children, their families, and all individuals have access to healthy, local food products is critical, particularly as so many continue to be detrimentally impacted by the pandemic,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our Administration is proud to work so closely with the Commonwealth’s farmers, food distributors, non-profit organizations, and others as we partner to strengthen the state’s food supply chains.”

Prior awardees have been able to make local, fresh food production more efficient and accessible, lower the production cost, and increase distributors’ ability to partner with SNAP, EBT, and other organizations.

Sweet Brook Farm in Williamstown will use the award to purchase a new cattle corral system. “As an emerging beef producer in Berkshire County,” said farmer Sarah Lipinski, “Sweet Brook Farm hopes to use these funds to expand our operations to further support the demand for local, sustainable foods.”

Lanesborough’s Red Shirt Farm received FSIG funds to construct a new farm store and commercial kitchen. Farmer Jim Schultz said that the store will serve as “a conduit for connecting our farm with the community”, and the commercial kitchen will help the farm reduce food waste by turning excess produce into value-added products.

Berkshire Grown is proud to be among this year’s awardees, alongside many outstanding farmers and organizations working to address food insecurity in the region. As part of their Farm to Food Access program, Berkshire Grown maintains cooler and freezer for crop and meat storage. “We will use the FSIG funds to purchase a back-up generator for the walk-in, a temperature monitor and alert system, and funds to pour a concreate delivery platform outside the cooler door. This allows us to make large-scale crop purchases from local farmers and store the food until pick-up by food pantries and community kitchens,” says Executive Director Margaret Moulton.

The awardees for this round of FSIG grants in the Berkshire region include:

  • Berkshire Grown, Inc. (Great Barrington): Temperature control support for walk-in cooler
  • Berkshire Wildflower Honey LLC dba Mill River Farm (Great Barrington)
  • Fairfields Dairy Farm LLC (Williamstown): upgrade to automatic milking system
  • Full Well Farm LLC (Adams): Climate battery greenhouse
  • Greenagers, Inc. (South Egremont): infrastructure and equipment to improve food storage capacity
  • Holiday Brook Farm LLC (Dalton): season-extending high tunnel
  • Ian Allen Farms (Sheffield)
  • North Plain Farm (Housatonic): improvements to Farm Store
  • Olsen Farm (Lanesborough): two hoop houses
  • Red Shirt Farm (Lanesborough): build-out of Farm Store and commercial kitchen
  • Roots Rising (Pittsfield): Toward expenses related to establishing a Youth Farm
  • Sweet Brook Beef Company (Williamstown): New cattle corral system
  • Woven Roots Farm (Tyringham): improvements to strengthen vegetable production/distribution capacity, expand wash/pack and storage infrastructures

Since 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded over $58 million in grants to 507 projects across the Commonwealth through the grant program. For more information regarding the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program, please visit the program’s webpage.

Sweet Brook Farm herd of cattle in paddock, Williamstown, MA.

Do you need assistance planning for the commercial viability of your APR farmland? Are you planning an infrastructure project that could be supported by a grant award? Consider applying for the APR Improvement Program (AIP).

Completed applications are due by 4:00pm on April 26, 2022 to be considered for program participation next fiscal year 2023.

AIP helps sustain active commercial farming on land that has already been protected through the state’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. AIP provides business planning and technical assistance to farmers selected to participate in the program and grants may be available on a reimbursement basis to implement identified improvements on the farm to increase productivity and profitability. Grant levels are up to $60,000; $90,000; or $120,000 depending on the size of the farm and acreage under APR, available on a cost reimbursement basis with a required 25% match contribution. AIP funds are used primarily for capital improvements to farm infrastructure, such as new or improved barns for equipment or hay storage or livestock housing, farm stores, processing facilities; or resource improvements for agricultural use, such as orchard renovations or fencing.

For more information and an AIP application, go to: APR Improvement Program (AIP) | Mass.gov or contact Michael Parker at Michael.Parker@mass.gov or 857-895-0023.

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