Big Y funding growers' infrastructure projects
The Local Farmer Awards program, funded since 2015 by community philanthropic leaders and businesses, recently distributed checks of up to $2,500 to 81 farmers in western Massachusetts and eastern New York. The funds, totaling $180,000, support infrastructure improvements and equipment. “Our local farmers continue to be an intrinsic and crucial part of our communities. We recognize their growing need for assistance now more than ever,” said funding partner Charles D’Amour, Big Y president and CEO. “For over 85 years, Big Y has been proud to support hardworking farmers and their families, and as partners with the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation we provide one more way to help our local growers thrive.”
In its short history, the awards program has made over $900,000 available to local growers, who have become better positioned to expand, compete in the marketplace and provide the public with the health and environmental benefits of local farming.
“We are incredibly grateful for funds to buy a flat filling machine for our greenhouse operation, a quantum leap in both labor efficiency and uniformity of flats for seeding," said winner Gideon Porth, owner of Atlas Farm in Deerfield, MA. "Our plants and people are loving it.”
Program funders, all of whom recognize the urgent need to invest in local farms, include the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation in partnership with Big Y along with Ann & Steve Davis, DeNucci Group at Merrill Lynch, Farm Credit East, HP Hood LLC, PeoplesBank, Audrey & Chick Taylor, Baystate Health and Country Bank.
Local Farmer Awards Director Cari Carpenter of the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation said farmers have exhibited enormous persistence, creativity and great spirit throughout COVID-19. “We are incredibly fortunate to be able to purchase local farm products at farmers markets, farm stands, CSA’s shares (community supported agriculture) and in our grocery stores. We urge all consumers to continue buying local farm products whenever and wherever they can.”
The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation supports local education, farming, energy, and entrepreneurship initiatives in the western Massachusetts region. Program founder Harold Grinspoon put his roots down in western Massachusetts more than 60 years ago. His philanthropy, in partnership with others, celebrates the hard work and creativity of many unrecognized people who contribute to the well-being of the entire community.