2024 Local Hero Awardee: D & R Farm

Diane and Rob Rollins, 2024 Local Hero Awardees. Steph Craig photo.

D & R Farm is owned by Rob and Diane Rollins. Rob grew up on a turkey farm in East Longmeadow, and Diane grew up on a self-sustaining farm in Canada. They both had other careers, and then decided to return to their farming roots on their couple of acres in Hampden in 2009. Today they are farming that small patch at home along with 108 additional rented acres in town, and with that land, they do A LOT: vegetables, corn, eggs, meat chickens and turkeys, greenhouse crops, baked goods, and various prepared foods like soup and meat pies. And until this year, they’ve being doing it all on their own, except for occasional help from friends and family!

Still, that big a range of products isn’t uncommon for farms in our region. What really makes D & R Farm stand out is the way they approach getting all that food to peoples’ tables, and making it available for people of all income levels. D & R Farm was an early adopter of HIP, the Healthy Incentives Program, and they serve as the anchor produce farm at multiple Hampden County farmers’ markets – this winter, for example at, the Holyoke Winter Farmers’ market, and they’ll be at 4 markets this summer in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield. They are farm partners on CISA’s Senior FarmShare program, providing fresh produce throughout each summer to low-income seniors through the Palmer and Hampden Senior Centers. And they set up a mobile farmstand at the housing authority-owned facilities in Brimfield and Munson, largely reaching seniors and people with limited mobility who live there.

This all reflects a real commitment to meeting the needs of their customers and their larger communities, and a willingness to try out different markets. The depth of these relationships, and their importance, is reflected in the fact that a number of people who represent various markets and community connections came to see Rob and Diane receive this award and cheer them on.

Talking with Rob and Diane, it’s clear that they take a lot of pride in growing and high-quality food that will bring customers back to them, and in meeting customers where they are – helping to bridge mobility and financial barriers to make food more available to everyone. For all of this, CISA is honored to present a 2024 Local Hero award to D & R Farm.

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