December 7, 2023 Press Releases
Farm Resiliency Fund Distributes $3.3 Million to 228 Farms
Community Foundation-supported fund launched in July 2023 to assist Massachusetts farms impacted by summer floods
The Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund, which was developed in partnership with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts (CFWM) in response to widespread flooding that swept over more than 100 Massachusetts farms in the region this past summer, has announced that $3,255,997 has been distributed to 228 farms throughout the Commonwealth, as of December 4.
CFWM was joined in launching The Farm Resiliency Fund with the Healey-Driscoll Administration, United Way of Central Massachusetts (UWCM) and other philanthropic and private foundations to support Massachusetts farms impacted by severe weather patterns.
The fund is administered by the United Way, and CFWM serves on the regional advisory group for Western Massachusetts that helps connect the fund to local farms. In addition to responding to the recent storm impact in Western and Central Massachusetts, the Fund intends to have long-term potential to respond to how climate affects farms.
In August, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources estimated at least 148 farms had been impacted by flooding, with over 2,700 acres in crop losses at a minimum value of $15 million at that time. There are 7,241 farms in Massachusetts, comprising 491,653 acres and employing 25,920 people. These farms generate $475,000,000 for the Massachusetts economy.
Meant to enhance the abilities of farms to recover from harvest losses, damaged infrastructure, and reduced income due to climate extremes, the Fund provides immediate relief but also facilitates long-term solutions that bolster agricultural communities against the impact of changing climate.
“When farms across the state were devastated by severe weather this summer, Team Massachusetts stepped up to help our neighbors,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We’re thrilled that in just four months, the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund has been able to help hundreds of farms and farmers across the state get back on their feet. We’re grateful for the generosity of all those who have made this possible and to our incredible farmers for their resilience.”
“Our partnership and our communities quickly came together to respond to our farms’ significant losses,” said CFWM CEO Megan Burke. “We are grateful for the hundreds of donors that have given to the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund in support of our hardworking farmers. The severe weather patterns affecting our farms ultimately impact our local food systems and employment making the Fund’s impact far-reaching.”
According to Tim Garvin, President and CEO Of UWCM, “For all of us, for all of our lives – we have relied on the land of the Commonwealth, our Farms and our Farmers; they have provided us with nourishment and sustenance. Finally, we as a community of the entire Commonwealth were able to show our thanks and our support. This beautiful partnership of the Governor and Lt. Governor, of CISA and the Community Foundation of Western MA, of our United Way and more than 700 contributors joined together to assist and support our Farms and Farmers. It was a labor of love, and we are thrilled to demonstrate our thanks and our support to our farms and farmers.”
“Every day, no matter the weather, local farmers work hard growing food for our communities,” said Philip Korman, Executive Director, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA). “This year, the fruits of their efforts were wiped out on hundreds of farms due to the floods and rains. With the distribution of over $3 million raised from across the Commonwealth – from individuals, foundations, business partners, and nonprofits – we have all helped to keep farmers farming and to keep feeding us all. It is vital and heartening for farmers to know that they are respected and supported for their work, especially in the worst of times. CISA is immensely grateful and proud to have been involved in this effort.”
To make a gift to the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund, donors can donate online at unitedwaycm.org/farmfund or send checks to the United Way of Central Massachusetts, 18 Chestnut Street, Suite 530, Worcester, MA 01608.