Baker-Polito Administration Awards $300,000 to Buy Local Organizations

BOSTON – December 23, 2015 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced
$300,000 in grants to support the efforts of six Buy Local organizations for
projects which seek to connect food producers to their surrounding communities in
Western, Central, Northeastern and Southeastern Massachusetts.

«Buy Local organizations are committed to the idea that knowing where your food
comes from makes both good health and economic sense,» said Governor Charlie Baker.
«Through these grants, this administration demonstrates its commitment to supporting
a sustainable local food system while at the same time generating consumer awareness
and demand for locally grown food products.»

«The Buy Local program ensures that Massachusetts residents have access to
nutritious, locally grown products, and provides opportunities for continued
economic and agricultural development throughout the Commonwealth,» said Energy and
Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. «The grants awarded by the
Baker-Polito Administration will provide farmers and food producers with the
resources necessary to make nutritious, locally-sourced food options available
statewide.»

The Commonwealth’s Buy Local organizations, originally formed to identify and
address marketing challenges in specific geographical communities across the
Commonwealth, have grown to be known as a sustainable business movement that
includes innovative marketing and educational programs.

«This grant funding will allow our regional Buy Local partners to continue to work
with DAR to promote and support local agricultural businesses while also ensuring
consumers will have access to nutritious Massachusetts grown products,» said
Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux.

The following six projects have been funded through this year’s grants:

Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP) – $69,250 – SEMAP will
enhance and strengthen the market position of local farmers and fishermen in
Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, Norfolk, and Plymouth counties through
collaborative projects, including networking events for local food buyers and
producers, and distribution of printed materials as well as efforts to expand the
existing local food curriculum in Martha’s Vineyard schools.

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) – $59,250 – CISA will increase
cash receipts for food producers in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties
through design and distribution of printed and electronic educational and
informational materials with a new marketing campaign called «local food for all.»
CISA will collaborate with Buy Local organizations across Massachusetts.

Central Mass Grown (CMG) – $59,000 – CMG will showcase the agricultural assets of
Central Massachusetts locally and state-wide to put more local food on consumers’
tables and increase farmers’ cash sales. Projects will engage Central Massachusetts
farmers, restaurants, retailers, distributors, and community supporters via an
outreach and promotion campaign.

Northeast Harvest – $51,000 – Northeast Harvest will promote agriculture,
aquaculture, and farmers’ markets in Essex and Middlesex Counties. Projects will
increase the recognition of Massachusetts agriculture and aquaculture via technical
assistance, multi-media communication and industry events.

Sustainable Business Network (SBN) – $34,500 – SBN will produce the 7th annual
Boston Local Food Festival in September, 2016, which attracts over 40,000 attendees
and engages a diverse local and sustainable group of food producers and food vendors
from across the New England region.

Berkshire Grown – $27,000 – Berkshire Grown will provide business assistance to food
producers in Berkshire County, and increase both the amount of land being farmed and
the number of farmers on the land, through collaboration with Berkshire Agricultural
Ventures.

«The Buy Local program helps to sustain the region’s economy by encouraging
Massachusetts residents to purchase locally-grown products from farms, farmers’
markets and other food producers that are based right here in the Commonwealth,»
said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). «This grant
funding will go a long way towards educating the public about the importance of
buying local and supporting the state’s agricultural businesses.»

«I applaud the administration’s commitment to the Buy Local movement and know these
funds will be used wisely and effectively in Berkshire, Franklin, and Hampshire
Counties,» said State Representative Paul Mark (D-Peru). «Buy Local organizations
like Berkshire Grown and CISA consistently support local farmers, producers, and
consumers in a sustainable, locally focused manner and these grants will be very
beneficial to helping along those worthwhile efforts.»

«The Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership, through the Buy Local
grants, has been able to bolster the local economy while providing consumers with
fresh, nutritious food grown right in their community,» said State Representative
Chris Markey (D-Dartmouth). «A majority of the farms in Massachusetts are
family-owned. They are mostly small businesses which continue to be an important
economic engine in the Commonwealth. The Baker-Polito Administration has recognized
this fact and has continued to support this important and historically significant
industry.»

«Buying locally grown food benefits the Commonwealth in many different ways.
Massachusetts residents are able to enjoy fresh and local foods, while boosting the
state’s farming industry and helping cut carbon emissions,» said State Senator Anne
Gobi (D-Spencer). «The Buy Local program does a fantastic job of promoting buy local
initiatives and I am proud to be a supporter.»

«We are so pleased to receive this vital grant from the Massachusetts Department of
Agricultural Resources,» said Philip Korman, Executive Director of CISA. «These
funds will enable CISA to encourage more of the 700,000 residents of our region to
support local agriculture and support collaboration of all ‘Buy Local’ organizations
in the state. The impact will be tremendous with more farmers able to make a living
and more residents buying from their neighbor farmers, and the result will be
stronger farms, local economies and communities.»

Buy Local groups across the
Commonwealth offer members and consumers a variety of resources. From technical
assistance information to marketing assistance; consumers, farmers, and food
producers alike can find resources to help them grow, buy, cook, and eat wholesome
locally grown products.