For Immediate Release - November 08, 2013

Patrick Administration Awards Buy Local Grants to Support Massachusetts Agriculture

BOSTON – November 8, 2013 - The Patrick Administration's Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) has awarded $200,000 in Buy Local grants to non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting local agriculture across Massachusetts.

“Regional Buy Local groups play an important role in the Patrick Administration’s efforts to sustain and support our agricultural industry,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “These grants will help the regional organizations increase their efforts to educate consumers on the Buy Local opportunities in their area.”

The Buy Local groups connect community farmers and consumers to encourage growing, purchasing and consuming of local agriculture, while promoting regional market venues and logistical assistance for farmers.

Pioneered in 1993 by regional agricultural communities committed to strengthening the connection between farms and the public, Buy Local groups have provided technical assistance to the agricultural industry and have served as a source of information to the community on where to purchase locally grown products.

“I am pleased with the administration’s release of these Buy Local grants,” said Senator Marc R. Pacheco, Senate Chairman of the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “Buying local not only supports our small business farmers, but also encourages sustainable development and promotes community growth.
 
“People want to know where their food is coming from and these grants from DAR help to encourage the production and consumption of locally grown food and provide new opportunities to farmers to promote their products,” said Representative Anne Gobi, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

“Supporting the Buy Local efforts across the state helps to strengthen and sustain our agricultural economy, as well as provide important connections between our food producers and consumers,” said Representative Stephen Kulik. “My colleagues and I in the legislature support these efforts to produce more healthy and nutritious foods for our citizens, as well as create new opportunities to farmers that will maintain our agricultural lands and create greater food security in Massachusetts.”

The organizations receiving awards are as follows:

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) will receive $70,000 to enhance the Buy Local marketing campaigns, education and special events in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin counties and in Berkshire county in collaboration with the Berkshire Grown Program. CISA is headquartered in South Deerfield, MA.

Northeast Harvest – Essex Agricultural Society will receive $45,000 to bring local farmers to area schools for agricultural education, fund farm tours for inner-city schools and host the Northeast Agricultural Conference where farmers can network and learn. Northeast Harvest – Essex Agricultural Society is headquartered in Topsfield, MA.

Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP) will receive $60,000 to increase local agricultural sales, recognition and strategic partnerships in the southeastern region. SEMAP is headquartered in Wareham, MA.

Sustainable Business Network (SBN) will receive $25,000 to build local food awareness and support in Massachusetts. SBN is headquartered in Cambridge, MA.

For a complete list of Buy Local resources, visit http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/buy-locals.htm.

DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR's website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow at twitter.com/MDARcommish.