EASTHAMPTON – The Healey-Driscoll Administration and the United Way of Central Massachusetts (UWCM) today announced the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund. The fund is a partnership between philanthropic organizations and private foundations intended to support Western and Central Mass farms impacted by recent flooding and strengthen farm resiliency in the long term. Officials made the announcement in Easthampton at Mountain View Farm, which had much of its crop destroy by flooding.
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources estimates at least 75 farms have been hurt by flooding, with about 2,000 acres in crop losses at a minimum value of $15 million. That number will likely climb as more damage is assessed and the longer-term impacts set in.
“As the Lieutenant Governor and I have visited farms across the state, we’ve been deeply moved by the devastating impacts we’ve seen and heartbreaking stories we’ve heard. We’re grateful to our philanthropic and private partners for quickly answering the call to action and creating this fund to deliver relief directly to farmers,” said Governor Healey. “This is about Team Massachusetts – where we come together to support farmers and their livelihoods, build resilience for our farms and food supply, strengthen our economy, and create a stronger future for our children and families.”
“Governor Healey and I have heard firsthand from dozens of farmers who are grappling with the aftermath of extreme flooding and trying to figure out how they’re going to make ends meet and keep their farms,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “We’ve been inspired by their resilience and the pride they take in their businesses, which play an essential role in our state’s food supply and economy. The Mass Farm Resiliency Fund will be a lifeline for so many dedicated farmers and their families.”
“For generations, our farms have been part of our cultural heritage and the fabric of our local communities,” said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Ashley Randle. “As heartbreaking as it has been to see our farming community hit hard this past week, I’m truly inspired to see the community step up and rally around our farmers with this partnership that will bring much needed relief.”
“The Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund is a most beautiful demonstration of real partnership; united in compassion and united in purpose to support and assist our Farmers,” said Tim Garvin, President and CEO of United Way of Central Massachusetts. “We at United Way are proud to be partners in this effort. We are hopeful that many will be inspired to contribute.”
To ensure farmers can begin recovery as quickly as possible, all funds will be distributed rapidly by the United Way through a deliberate selection process. Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell and private foundations, including the Eastern States Exposition, Community Foundation of Western MA and Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), have already announced their support. More information about the fund can be found here and at unitedwaycm.org/farmfund.
Statements of Support
Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell
“The recent devastation to farms in Western Massachusetts has threatened both farmers’ livelihoods and our local economy. The Attorney General’s Office is proud to be a founding donor to the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund and commit an initial $10,000 – all from settlements reached by this office – for relief. I commend Governor Healey, Lieutenant Governor Driscoll, and the United Way of Central Massachusetts for their leadership, and I will continue to use every available tool in the AG’s Office to support our communities.”
Senator Jo Comerford, Assistant Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means
“As someone who sees the devastating impacts of the recent flooding every day, I am extremely grateful for the quick efforts of the Healey-Driscoll Administration and the United Way of Central Massachusetts to put the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund in place. We must continue to take concrete steps to help the farmers who so desperately need our quick action and sustained efforts to help in their recovery, and so I am continuing to work closely with the Senate President and Senate Ways and Means to include additional significant funding for farm relief in the coming days.”
Senator John C. Velis
“Farms throughout Western Massachusetts have been devastated by the recent flooding in our region and the full scale of damage is unfortunately expected to grow even more. The flooding has decimated folk’s businesses, jeopardized their livelihoods, and has had a tremendous impact on our Commonwealth’s agricultural sector and our food supply as a whole. I am grateful to the Healey-Driscoll Administration, UWCM, and all the philanthropic and private foundations, for their fast work in creating the Farm Resiliency Fund and for their commitment to helping our farmers get back on their feet. Today’s announcement is a critical lifeline to our farms and to our entire region.”
1st Franklin District State Representative Natalie Blais
“Following the devastation caused by recent rains and flooding, the Healey-Driscoll Administration stood with us, in our fields, to hear directly from farmers. Today, in partnership with local organizations and the Western Massachusetts Delegation, the Administration delivered for them. I am profoundly grateful to our community for coming together to support farms across the state, and for Governor Healey’s commitment to the long-term sustainability of agriculture and our local food systems.”
Gene Cassidy, President & CEO of Eastern States Exposition
“At Eastern States Exposition, agriculture is our culture. We are proud to support Massachusetts farmers during this time of great need.”
Megan Burke, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western MA
“In light of the devastating impact of recent floods, the Community Foundation of Western MA is committed to supporting the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund. We seek to ensure that this coordinated effort provides immediate relief that works for farmers and addresses longer term food security issues for vulnerable residents of our region.”
Philip Korman, Executive Director of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)
“This month’s rains and floods, occurring in the middle of the summer harvest, will have a bigger impact on our farms than Hurricane Irene. It has been heartening to see the community rally around our local farmers, the very people who feed our families. The newly created Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund is a powerful example of what can be created when government, foundations, businesses and non-profits like CISA work together. The Fund will be an essential piece of helping farms recover and will serve as part of the safety net to future climate change events.”
Mark Gold, Director, Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation
“The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation congratulates the Healy-Driscoll administration on addressing this issue in a timely manner with the formation of the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund. Our Foundation remains committed to providing support to those farms impacted by the recent floods along the Connecticut River valley and others to which we and our partners have provided support over the past nine years.”