Grinspoon Awards Grants to Franklin County Farmers
The Recorder, May 27th, 2016, by Richie Davis
Seventeen Franklin County farms are among the 47 winners of $2,500 each in Local Farmer Awards presented by Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation and Big Y in the Pioneer Valley and the Berkshires.
Gideon Porth of Atlas Farm in Deerfield plans to use his award toward installing a pump system for a new well to increase the supply of potable water for the farm’s packing house and greenhouses — doubling current watering abilities.
Other recipients include Bear Swamp Orchard and Cidery in Ashfield; Stonegate Farm; Boyden Brothers and Good Bunch Farm in Conway; Enterprise Farm of Whately; Freeman Farm in Heath; Headwater Cider in Hawley; Hettie Belle Farm in Warwick; Just Roots in Greenfield; Lyonsville Farm in Colrain; The Kitchen Garden, Warner Farm and Riverland Farm in Sunderland; Seeds of Solidarity Farm and The Little White Goat Dairy in Orange; and Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield.
The awards, whose sponsors also include Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and MGM Springfield, are given so that the farmers, selected with help from Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture and Berkshire Grown, may make improvements in their operations. In all, 128 farmers applied for the grants, describing their improvement projects. The more than $110,000 awarded represents a 42-percent increase from the 2015 inaugural program, with 32 percent of recipients farming for more than 20 years and 23 percent farming five years or less.
More than 40 percent of the recipients have sales of more than $100,000, while 30 percent had sales of less than $49,000.
“Farmers don’t typically ask for help,” said Harold Grinspoon, who launched the Local Farmer Awards in 2015. “They are genuinely appreciative of these awards and use the money in creative ways for projects to help their businesses.”
The goal of the Local Farmer Awards is to strengthen farmers’ ability to compete in the marketplace.