Application Information



Update 2023 

Impact of 2023 Projects

 

We are pleased to launch the tenth year of the Local Farmer Awards for infrastructure improvements. THE HAROLD GRINSPOON CHARITABLE FOUNDATION in partnership with BIG Y, the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, and our generous sponsors Ann & Steve Davis, Charles & Elizabeth D'Amour, Audrey & Chick Taylor, DENUCCI GROUP AT MERRILL LYNCH, FARM CREDIT EAST, HP HOOD LLC, PEOPLESBANK, BAYSTATE HEALTH, COUNTRY BANK, Eastern States Exposition, Franklin First Federal Credit Union, and bankESB will distribute over $150,000 in awards to Western Massachusetts farmers.

Award Amount: Up to $2,500

Do you have an idea for an infrastructure project that will help your farm grow? Tell us on your application how a project award of up to $2,500 could help.
 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must have annual gross sales of at least $10,000
  • Farm must be located in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin or Berkshire County of Massachusetts (Beginning in 2024 – farms located outside of the 4 Western Massachusetts Counties are no longer eligible for these grants regardless of membership in Berkshire Grown or CISA)
  • Farm must grow, harvest, and market your own agricultural products as more than 50% of your economic activity
  • Funds must be used for farm equipment and/or physical improvements related to the process of growing, harvesting, or processing.
  • Project must start and finish in calendar year 2024

2024 Schedule

  • Application Opens – January 1, 2024
  • Application Closes – January 31, 2024
  • Final Decisions communicated via email – by the end of March
  • Award Checks mailed – by the end of April or within 2 weeks of anticipated project start date
  • Recipients submit a short online project report – October 2024

Additional Information:

  • This is a competitive application for a limited number of awards.
  • Our review process is blind, meaning reviewers do not know the names of the farmers or farms whose applications are being evaluated.
  • Our review panel is comprised of caring individuals with agricultural experience.
  • If you applied and did not win an award, we encourage you to try again. If you applied and did receive an award in the past, we also encourage you to apply again.

Required on your application:

  • General information about your farm such as location, gross sales, products you sell and sales outlets
  • Specific details about your proposed project including timeline, projected expenses, and the impact it would have on your business, etc.

Examples of winning projects:

In 2023, Award Amounts (based on farmer requests) ranged from $650 to $2,500

 
  • Hoophouse
  • Irrigation equipment
  • Row cover and supports to protect crops from deer
  • Winter water and electricity
  • Egg Washer
  • Electric Fencing
  • Insect exclusion netting
  • Trailer high crop sprayer
  • Vacuum Seeder
  • High Tunnel Updates
  • Jang Seeders
  • Herbal processing equipment upgrade
  • Bulk Grain Silo
  • Paper Pot Transplanter
2023 WINNERS AND PROJECT TITLES

 

Examples of what the award cannot be used for:

  • Farm stands
  • Farm stand refrigerators unless also used for cold storage
  • Delivery Vehicles
  • General maintenance
  • Hiring staff
  • Marketing & Signage
  • Purchasing livestock or plants
  • Labeling Machines
  • Supplies

Tips for a strong application:

  • Clearly explain why the proposed project is critical or valuable to your farm's future (for example: how it will help increase production and/or sales, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.)
  • If possible, provide quantitative information on how the project will provide a return on investment.
  • Explain why an award of up to $2500 will make a difference even if the project has a very large price tag.
  • Describe the issue or obstacle you are facing and how this project will help.
  • Be descriptive – tell a story.  Use words like “For example…”
  • Keep your project proposal as central to the core agriculture process as possible.
  • Recent winning applications have the following characteristics:
    • The proposed project was well thought through and researched
    • Concise and descriptive
    • Conveyed importance by showing direct impact of the project. This is often best done with numbers, but a few have been able to describe impact without numbers.
    • Showed facts related to the project
    • Persuasive about why the award was so important to their farm; told a story
    • Were carefully proofread, had no spelling or grammatical errors
  • This worksheet may help you work on a draft of your project descriptions 
 

Update 2023 

Impact of 2022 Projects

   

 
Apply HereApplication open Jan 1-31


Congratulations to our award recipients! See past years:

Click below for maps of our Local Farmer Award Recipients
2023 WINNERS
2021 & 2022 WINNERS
2018-2020 Winners
2015-2017 Winners

Updates

Impact Reports

Farmer Stories

2019
Wellspring Harvest and Springfield's Salad Days​

2018
Anna Meyer, hart Farm

Sarah & Ryan Voiland, Red Fire Farm

Nate Frigard, Crimson & Clover Farm

Topher Sabot, Cricket Creek Farm

Contact

For more information please contact Cari Carpenter: cari@hgf.org or 413-276-0831.

The 2023 Local Farmer Awards are generously funded by:

Ann & Steve Davis Elizabeth & Charles
D'Amour
Audrey & Chick Taylor Peoples Bank