EASTHAMPTON — The Healey-Driscoll administration and the United Way of Central Massachusetts (UWCM) announced the creation of the Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund, 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 Thursday at Mountain View Farm in Easthampton, which had much of its crop destroyed 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,” Healey said. “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. 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.”
Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Ashley Randle added that, “for generations, our farms have been part of our cultural heritage and the fabric of our local communities. 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.”
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 Massachusetts, and Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, have already announced their support.
“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.”