Community Foundation Steps Up to Respond to Needs of Local Farmers and Farms

In a united effort to provide crucial assistance to Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden County farmers grappling with the adverse impacts of excessive rainfall and flooding, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) has joined Gov. Maura Healey, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, and the United Way of Central Massachusetts, in launching the state’s new Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund. The fund’s purpose aims to confront the climate changes impacting statewide farm communities grappling with the perils of climate change this summer—and indefinitely.

“With a donation of $25,000, the Community Foundation is proud to support the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund, established by Governor Healey in response to the devastation,” shared CFWM President and CEO Megan Burke. “We are also committed to working with the United Way of Central Massachusetts and other partners to make sure funds are distributed to western Massachusetts farmers quickly and in a way that works for them; and that relief considers longer term food security concerns.”

The newly formed fund stands as a beacon of hope for over one hundred farms currently navigating the unpredictable challenges posed by shifting weather dynamics in the western part of the State. Meant to enhance the abilities of farms to recover from harvest losses, damaged infrastructure, and reduced income due to climate extremes, the fund will provide immediate relief but also facilitate long-term solutions that bolster agricultural communities against the impact of changing climate.

Joanna Ballantine, Vice President for Philanthropic Services and former Vice President for The Trustees of Reservations added, “supporting the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund is vital to the farms and farmers who have been devastated by the recent floods and climate change related weather. We see the opportunity for private philanthropy to partner with public partners as essential, given that the food systems throughout our greater region are dependent on a healthy and resilient agricultural community.”

The fund is being administered by the United Way of Central Massachusetts. CFWM has been asked to coordinate and serve on the regional advisory group for western Massachusetts that will help connect the fund to local farms and establish the criteria and process for fund distribution.

To make a gift to the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund, donors can donate online or send checks to the United Way of Central Massachusetts, 18 Chestnut Street, Suite 530, Worcester, MA 01608. They can also Venmo @UnitedWayCM.