Patrick awards grant to support western Massachusetts Agriculture

BOSTON – The Patrick administration’s Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Tuesday announced $300,000 in funding for seven Buy Local Groups to enhance agriculture in communities across Massachusetts.
“Buy Local groups create and foster a successful, personal relationship between regional agriculture and their communities,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson.
Regional Buy Local groups connect farmers to their surrounding communities and vice versa. Buy Local groups began in 1993 in the Pioneer Valley and are committed to the idea that knowing where your food comes from makes both good health and economic sense. Originally formed to identify and address marketing challenges in specific geographical communities across the Commonwealth, these groups have grown as a sustainable business movement that includes innovative marketing and educational programs.
One of the organizations receiving awards was Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) which will receive $60,000 to enhance the Buy Local efforts in Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties to increase awareness of agriculture and encourage purchases of local farm products. CISA is headquartered in South Deerfield.
There are now a total of ten Buy Local groups across the Commonwealth who offer members and consumers a variety of resources. From technical assistance information to the newest recipes, consumers farmers and food producers alike can find resources to help them grow, buy, cook and eat wholesome locally grown products. Visit for a complete list.
The Patrick administration is committed to growing the agriculture economy. More than $55 million has been invested in the APR program, resulting in the permanent protection of more than 180 farms and more than 10,000 acres. In addition, $7 million has been put towards farmer training, business development, on-farm energy efficiency and more. The Commonwealth has also launched one of the nation’s first state-funded urban farming initiatives, ranks fifth in the nation for direct market sales, hosts 134 farmers’ markets that accept SNAP and since 2007 has seen a 95 percent increase in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and growth in agri-tourism sales of 127 percent.

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