Farmer Newsletter
Hi there!

I hope this finds you well and in a good rhythm on your farms.

As part of an ongoing conversation with the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, we're hoping to solicit feedback on expected losses from the May 16th frost events. The Massachusetts Farm Bureau is in the process of collecting information from farmers across the state who experienced losses to their crops as a result of the frost. If we haven't connected individually and you are expecting losses as a result of the May frost, please reach out to me at [email protected] as soon as possible.

As we head into summer, we're thinking ahead to our Winter Workshops for farmers, and are gathering information for winter workshop topics and building 1:1 consultation relationships. If there are any topics you would love to see a workshop address, or any projects on your farm that you might want consultation for, please feel free to send me an email or give me a call at the Berkshire Grown office: (413) 528-0041.

Some updates in this month's farmer newsletter:
  • Organic Market Development Grants for producers in transition to organic practices, or producing under organic certification
  • NOFA MASS Farmer to Farmer program for producers interested in, or in process of transitioning to Organic; NOFA MASS Annual meeting online and in-person, July;
  • CISA Workshops on farming practices for a changing climate
  • Interested in Agroforestry? Read on
  • Freezer space for rent in Great Barrington
  • NE Food Vision Prize for Non-profit organizations in farming and food working with education institutions;

Ian Brunell
Program Manager, Business Members
Organic Market Development Grants and Other USDA Events

OMDG Application Deadline Extended
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the deadline for the Organic Market Development Grants (OMDG) Request for Applications (RFA) to August 8, 2023. 

Through OMDG, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will issue up to $75 million in competitive grants. Eligible entities include businesses that produce or handle organic foods, non-profit organizations, tribal governments, and state and local government entities to fund projects designed to expand and improve markets for domestically produced organic products. OMDG is intended to increase the consumption of domestic agricultural commodities by aiding in the expansion of markets or development of new markets, marketing facilities, and uses for such commodities. For example, applicants may seek funding to develop and launch new consumer products using rotational grains or invest in infrastructure like processing equipment to give producers better access to markets.  

AMS encourages applications that serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers and underserved communities.   

Applications must be submitted through by August 8, 2023.

To apply for these funds, farmers need to have started an organic certification application, or already be producing under certification.

Need assistance grant writing? Feel free to reach out to me about possible grant writing assistance in our network, and possibly some funding to help pay for that assistance.
Please feel free to contact me at [email protected]
for more details if you're interested.
Register now for the 2023 NOFA Summer Conference!
Online and in person at
Worcester State University
Worcester, MA
Online Monday, July 24 - Thursday, July 27, 2023
In Person & Online: Friday, July 28 & Saturday, July 29, 2023
The 2023 NOFA Summer Conference will be happening online from July 24-27, and online and in person at Worcester State University.

On Friday, July 28, we kick off the in-person portion of the conference in the evening, with dinner and salsa dancing for a good cause, and then on Saturday, July 29, we’ll be in person and online all day, hosting workshops, caucus groups, a fair, and opportunities for networking and community!
This year’s conference theme is “Buen Vivir: Celebrating Harmony with Nature and our Communities”

Click for more information
Apply for scholarships here
Climate-focused, on-farm workshops
organized by CISA:
Irrigation Systems and Management
at Warner Farm
Thursday, July 13, 4:00-6:00pm
Warner Farm, 23 S Main St, Sunderland, MA
Join CISA, UMass Extension, and Dave Wissemann of Warner Farm on July 13th at 4:00pm for an up-close look at how they are optimizing their water resources and water distribution systems to ensure the sustainable production of crops throughout the season and in the face of increasingly uncertain growing conditions. The workshop includes a farm walk to see irrigation equipment and a detailed explanation of how the farm’s systems are designed and maintained. Following the farm walk, join us for further discussion and some locally made drinks and snacks.  

Reduced-Till Perennial Clover Trials
at Sawyer Farm
Thursday, July 20, 4:00pm-6:00pm
Sawyer Farm, 19 Sawyer Rd, Worthington, MA
Over the past several seasons, farmers at Sawyer Farm have been experimenting with different ways to plant row crops into perennial white clover and reduce tillage using a series of innovative practices. Join CISA, UMass Extension, and Sawyer Farm’s Lincoln Fishman for a close look at transplanter shoe adaptations designed to reduce soil disturbance and weed competition in perennial clover and cash crop production. They will also discuss research underway with UMass through a SARE Partnership Grant. In addition, Berkshire Conservation District will display their no-till drill seeder, which is available for rentals and can be used for mixes or single species applications from clovers and orchard grass to rye and soybeans. This in-person workshop will be followed with an on-farm networking opportunity.

Interested in Agroforestry?

Check out this event in Stone Ridge onJune 9 - too far? Can't make it? Reach out to me at Berkshire Grown with your agroforestry-related farm interests -- we can start a conversation about relevant practices, funding opportunities, and tapping into existing models.

Catalyzing Agroforestry in the Hudson Valley and Beyond

Farmers, land stewards, agricultural professionals, climate leaders, and policy makers are invited to connect with each other to grow support for agroforestry as a natural climate solution, both locally in the Hudson Valley more widely throughout the country.

Agroforestry, or the intentional integration of trees on farmland, is recognized as a key agricultural climate change solution by Project Drawdown.

Agroforestry and tree crops can also:
  • Improve farm profitability & grow rural economies
  • Increase biodiversity
  • Improve water quality
  • Increase beauty on farms and improve farmer mental health

This program includes:
  • Presentation & discussion on agroforestry, centered on key issues and opportunities related to the scaling of agroforestry as a natural climate solution
  • Farm tour through working organic orchard (optional)
  • Opportunities to get involved as a farmer, land steward, or as an agriculture professional
  • Great food & drink provided in a beautiful location!

When: Friday June 9th from 1 to 3 pm

Open Application Period for
Massachusetts Food Ventures Program (MFVP)
The goal of MFVP is to increase access to healthy, affordable food options and improve economic opportunities for low to moderate income communities. The MFVP will provide funding through grants to support food ventures, sited primarily in or near communities of low or moderate income, including Gateway Cities and rural communities. The MFVP will help implement goals of the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan and contribute to the financing needs of local Massachusetts food enterprises. With expanded investment, completed projects will improve access to Massachusetts grown, harvested or caught food products through the development of collaborations with local agricultural enterprises and private/public entities. Key areas for investment include: food processing infrastructure to meet the needs of the expanding local food system; improved distribution systems to support opportunities for equitable access to fresh local food; and retail outlet strategies that enhance access to healthy food.
Participants selected for funding are provided with reimbursement grants for 50% of total project costs up to $250,000.

Applications due: 4:00PM on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.
For more information, contact Rose Arruda at [email protected]

Need assistance grant writing? Feel free to reach out to me about possible grant writing assistance in our network, and possibly some funding to help pay for that assistance.
Attention Livestock Farmers -
Freezer Space Available for Rent!
Berkshire Grown currently has space to rent to local livestock farmers
for freezer storage at a Great Barrington farm location. Please spread the word and reach out to [email protected] to express interest.

Walk-in Freezer Details:
· 12' x 12' x 8' freezer
· Price: $40/month per pallet or any portion of a pallet – no deposit required.
· Availability: first come, first served basis.
· Access: Key code lock box or by appointment with a BG staff member.
· Shelving is available upon request (currently limited).
· Lease agreement required.
Berkshire Grown's mission is to Keep Farmers Farming!

We support and promote local agriculture as a vital part of the Berkshire community by networking farmers and food buyers, promoting locally-grown food, and increasing community access to local food.