|Berkshire Grown Gets $550K Grant |
|12:40PM / Sunday, January 08, 2023|
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The $550,000 Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) Grant will strengthen Berkshire Grown's purchasing relationships with socially disadvantaged farmers through their Berkshire Farm to Food Access Partnership Program to distribute to new and existing food sites.
The initiative will establish an online ordering system, update purchasing contracts, expand the selection of local food and farm products, recruit volunteers for food delivery, prepare food storage locations, and distribute the food and farm products to underserved communities.
The grant funds a collaborative partnership that includes other organizations working to address food security in the Berkshires: Berkshire Bounty and Community Health Partners.
"What makes this grant especially unique and meaningful to our local food system, is that it supports the purchase of products only from local farmers, with an additional focus on sourcing from BIPOC-owned farms when possible," Berkshire Grown Executive Director Margaret Moulton clarified in an email. "Everything we buy to supply local food pantries will be sourced from farms in the Berkshire region, with extended reach into some farms in NW Connecticut and the eastern Hudson Valley."
The Baker-Polito Administration is awarding $7,260,000 in Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) grants to 16 organizations across the Commonwealth. The grants, which are funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), seek to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency through the purchase of domestic food from local and regional producers, by targeting purchases from socially disadvantaged farmers and producers, and the distribution to underserved communities.
Additionally, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the availability of $28.5 million in funding for the FY24 Food Security Infrastructure Grant (FSIG) Program. This funding will allow the Commonwealth to ensure equitable access to healthy, locally-produced food for individuals and families throughout the state.
"While the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program was created as part of our Administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, through this next $28.5 million, we will be able to continue to utilize this important initiative to ensure access to healthy, locally produced food for all residents throughout the state," said Governor Charlie Baker. "The $7.2 million that we are awarding through the Local Food Purchase Assistance Program will further our efforts to invest in the Commonwealth's food supply chain, creating a stronger and more resilient food system."
The FSIG Program was created to provide grants for capital infrastructure investments that increase access to locally produced food for families and individuals throughout the state who may be facing food insecurity, live in gateway cities or food deserts, or who otherwise face unequal access to food. Additionally, FSIG works to mitigate future supply and distribution issues by partnering with local fishermen, farmers, and other producers to create a strong and resilient food system. The Administration initially announced the program in May 2020 and has since awarded $63 million to 507 organizations throughout Massachusetts.
Furthermore, the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program seeks to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency by working directly with socially disadvantaged farmers and producers to give food to underserved communities. Importantly, the food will meet the needs of the local and regional populations and serve feeding programs, including food banks, schools, and organizations that reach underserved communities. In addition to increasing local food consumption, funds will help build and expand economic opportunities for local and socially disadvantaged producers.