The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

COVID19 Updates and Resources

We know that these are challenging times. Rather than duplicate efforts, NOFA/Mass would like to hold up resources made available by our partners to help farmers, farmworkers and food-related businesses navigiate the COVID-19 situation. We are so grateful for the work of organizers at the Mass. Food System Collaborative, CISA, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and our other allied organizations listed below. If you have suggestions for content, please email marty[at]nofamass.org with the subject "COVID19 Resources."

 

Right now, the #1 thing for anyone/everyone to do (which so many people are already doing) is to continue supporting our local farmers by buying directly from them. Some farms, which rely on institutional contracts (ie. schools and restaurants), are really hurting right now. For obvious reasons, we need to make sure as many farms as possible make it through this!

 

Take advantage of the NOFA/Mass Organic Food Guide which includes listings of not only farms but farmstands and CSAs. 

 

Our good friends and allies at CISA are also keeping a list of new sales outlets for local food (including online ordering and new delivery sites) and closures.

 

Mass. Farmers Markets is also curating this statewide list of direct farm delivery services: "Take a Bite Out of COVID-19: Eat Healthy with Deliveries from Your Local Farmers"

 

Massachusetts Food System Collaborative’s list of resources
In response to the spread of COVID-19 and the measures being taken to address it, the Mass Food System Collaborative has compiled this list of readings and resources to keep the MA food system community informed and aware of relevant actions and activities. Frequently updated list of content that includes guidance and recommendations for farmers, market managers, and business owners, as well as information on local and national policy/advocacy efforts.

CISA Resources Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) is mantaining a very useful collection of resources for farms and farmers markets. 

COVID-19: Online Ordering, Home Deliveries, and Closures (CISA)

Local farms, restaurants, and other businesses are responding quickly to new recommendations and concerns related to the spread of coronavirus. CISA is working to capture new systems that they are setting up to sell to customers and closures as they hear about them.

MA Department of Agricultural Resources’ list of COVID-19 resources for agriculture
MDAR has compiled a list of resources to keep our agricultural community informed and aware of relevant policies and best practices.

 

Covid-19 Resources for Farmers (Curated by New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, 3/31/20)

Reports estimate that local and regional food supply systems could lose up to $3.1 billion just between March and May this year. Mass Department of Agricultural Resources has guidance for farmers, farm stands, and markets on their COVID-19 resource page for agriculture, including grant and loan programs for farmers.  Below is a listing of other resources for farmers during this time of uncertainty an business instability.

1.  AFT Farmer Relief Grant Program -  This program will award farmers with cash grants of up to $1,000 each to help them weather the current storm of market disruptions caused by the coronavirus crisis.  Initially, eligible applicants include any small and mid-size direct-market producers. These are defined as producers with annual gross revenue of between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers markets and/or direct sales to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products as inputs.

2.  United Way Covid-19 Family Support Fund - The fund will support the work of 20 organizations throughout Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire in administering emergency assistance to families of hourly and low-wage workers, providing one-time grants of up to $2,000 to cover food, housing, and child care.

3.  CISA Emergency Farm Fund - CISA’s Emergency Farm Fund offers zero-interest loans to assist farms struggling to meet their immediate needs as a result of crisis events.  In April 2020, for the first time, CISA is opening the Emergency Farm Fund to support farms who are facing financial losses due to a non-weather-related event, the spread of COVID-19. For more information on how COVID-19 is affecting local farms and CISA’s response to it, click here

Loan applications will be accepted from farms that:

  • Have had losses due to COVID-19
  • Operate in Franklin, Hampshire, or Hampden counties in Massachusetts
  • Demonstrate need and a capacity to repay the loan (perfect credit history not required)
  • Have gross annual sales for 2019 that were $20,000 or more. If your farm did not gross at least $20,000, please contact CISA at 413-665-7100 for more information

Other COVID-19 resources for farmers, business owners, and market managers can be accessed here.

4.  MarketLink Program, Free SNAP card reader - If you sell at a farmers' market or are a direct marketing farmer, you may qualify for a free card reader and a one-year subscription to TotilPay Go, which ensures accurate transactions by automatically matching SNAP-eligible items with the best payment method.

5.  Building Farm Resilience in this crisis -  Cornell Small Farms Program recently launched a curated resource page to support the farming community.

6.  A Readiness Assessment for Continuity of Farm Business - This open-source checklist developed by PASA and Penn State Extension helps farmers develop a business continuity plan to adapt to and support contingency planning during the pandemic.

7.  Other Farm Resources - There are many other regional farm organizations with excellent resources for farmers and food producers throughout New England, here are a few:
 - Land for Good COVID-19 Resource Page
 - Farm to Institution New England COVID-19 Resources
 - UVM's Considerations for Fruit and Vegetable Growers Related to COVID-19
 - Mass Food Systems Collaborative COVID-19 Resource Page
 - New Entry's COVID-19 resource document is editable, so feel free to add resources to this list!

8.  How the CARES Act will support relief to farmers - keep up to date with federal relief efforts through regularly analysis from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's blog and action alerts.

Where are YOU finding the best COVID-19 resource information?  Email us to share and we will add to our updates.

 

 

 

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