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Berkshire Grown Awarded State Grant
10:49AM / Thursday, November 30, 2023
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Berkshire Grown was awarded $91,477 to strengthen collaborative initiatives that address food security in the Berkshires.
The grant will also increase connections between Berkshire farms and non-traditional community partners to make locally grown food available to all members of the Berkshire community.
The Healey-Driscoll Administration awarded $800,000 in grants to support the efforts of ten regional Buy Local organizations that work to help generate consumer awareness and demand for locally grown food products. Stretching from the Berkshires to the Cape, the organizations connect local farmers to their communities, helping them sell locally grown products to buyers and fostering long-term relationships between growers and consumers.
In addition to supporting the important work of regional farmers, Buy Local groups will leverage this funding to support environmental justice communities. These communities are racially and ethnically diverse, low-income neighborhoods that also may face language isolation. Due to systemic discrimination and racism, these communities have historically felt disproportionate environmental burdens. With this funding, Buy Locals will address food security needs, enhance access to local, culturally relevant foods, and engage with and support historically underserved farmers.
"Nourishing and healthy food is grown right here in Massachusetts, but not all of our residents have access to these local farms," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. "This funding will help bridge that gap by investing in our Buy Local organizations, farmers, and environmental justice communities. Everyone, regardless of race or income, deserves access to fresh, local products."
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) works year-round with the regional Buy Local organizations to help generate consumer awareness and demand for locally grown food products and strengthen the marketing potential of agricultural businesses in different regions of the Commonwealth.
"MDAR values the ingenuity that the Buy Local organizations instill in their own regional and collective work, with many collaborating to enhance their initiatives," said MDAR Commissioner Ashley Randle.  "Each of the organizations have the pulse of the needs of their farmers/producers in their respective areas. We're proud to partner with all of them in advancing our shared goals of increasing the purchase and consumption of locally grown food by our consumers in the Commonwealth."
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