April 2020 Announcement
BAV Establishes New Fund to Support Farmers During COVID-19 Pandemic
One of region’s greatest assets is our wealth of local farms and food businesses and the resilience of our food system. COVID-19 has caused this system to be challenged in ways we could not have imagined even one month ago . Our farmers are hurting right now as markets, restaurants and other income-generating avenues are closed due to the virus. Farms often rely on direct to consumer sales through farmers markets and CSAs to make a living, all of which are likely to be closed through at least part of the summer season. Despite these challenges, many farmers are reaching out to contribute healthy food to the neediest among us.
 
BAV is pleased to have received a generous grant from a local family foundation to launch the Resilience Fund for Farmers . This new Fund will support farmers who are experiencing business challenges as a result of COVID-19.  Zero interest, forgivable loans and grants will be provided to farmers to help them adapt to the new realities of COVID-19, overcome significant income challenges, ensure their farms are viable and sustainable, and that they can continue to meet demand among consumers for healthy local foods. In addition to working with individual farmers, BAV is also hoping to support strategies that avoid costly duplication of effort among farmers, such as coordinated delivery services.
 
The challenges facing our farmers are real and we need your help. Thank you for considering a donation to the BAV Resilience Fund for Farmers.
First Resilience Fund Grant Awarded
We are also delighted to announce that the first grant of the Resilience Fund has been made to Roots Rising for its Virtual Farmers Market which launched on March 28, 2020 in direct response to community need .  Since its inception, the public response to the Market has been overwhelming.  For more information about the Market, read this article that appeared on the front page of the Berkshire Eagle or listen to this related story from WAMC radio.
Welcome Dan Carr, Outreach and Technical Assistance Coordinator
The BAV team is pleased to welcome Dan Carr to the team. Dan grew up on the front range of Colorado. After graduating from the University of Montana, Dan spent a year working on a variety of farms in Europe through Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. During that experience he found his passion in regenerative farming.

Dan spent three years as an agriculture Peace Corps volunteer in a remote village in northern Malawi. He worked with farmers to implement agroforestry practices, and to start other income-generating opportunities like bee keeping and grafting fruit trees.Returning to the US, Dan worked at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY for six years as the assistant livestock manager and the head beekeeper.

In 2015, Dan moved to Northwestern Connecticut to help James and Linda Quella start and manage Q Farm, which quickly grew into a highly productive, pasture-raised meat business. He managed the productions of sustainable honey, grass fed beef, pasture-raised pork, chicken, turkeys, and eggs for a variety of restaurants and retail markets.

Dan is now working at BAV, and launching Beavertides Farm with his wife Marleen, and two young sons Oliver and Orion. They raise grass-fed lamb and meat goats, produce honey and teach beekeeping courses.

In addition to ongoing technical assistance and outreach, Dan's immediate work for BAV will be focused on a thorough needs assessment of local farms as they are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can reach Dan directly at dan@berkshireagventures.org .
 
BAV is here to help.

Berkshire Agricultural Ventures  envisions a vibrant, thriving and resilient food and farming system in the Berkshires and neighboring regions where healthy food is accessible to all.

The organization works to weave together diverse community assets with strategic investments to forge a resilient regional food and farming system by increasing local entrepreneurs’ access to grants and loans and providing, technical and business support.

During these trying times, we are more committed than ever to help those we serve. If you have an idea, a need or just want to chat about what is happening in our farming community please contact Cynthia Pansing, Executive Director at cynthia@berkshireagventures.org

Stay safe and be well.

 
Berkshire Agricultural Ventures | info@berkshireagventures.org | www.berkshireagventures.org