AgSociety secures Buy Local grant

The MV Ag Society received grant funding to help farmers and fishers. —MV Times

The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society received a more than $60,000 grant to promote and assist Island farmers and fishers.

The $61,882 in state funding is through the Healey administration’s Buy Local program, and Vineyard funding was one of 10 groups that received a part of $800,000 announced Monday.

“This is a really big benefit,” Ag Society program coordinator Lucy Grinnan said of the funding. They say it will help underwrite existing programming offered by the Ag Society, as well as expand and create new opportunities.

Grinnan says that part of the funding will go to Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust to create new booklets highlighting local fishermen. Funding will also support the West Tisbury Farmers Market, the operation of the Island’s mobile poultry-processing unit, and to update an existing farm map that highlights farms around the Island. 

Grinnan says that the funding will also help underwrite direct support for local farmers. That will include assisting them in writing grant proposals, and hiring professional photographers to promote their farms.

“It’s for a mix of ongoing programs and new ideas that we are excited about trying,” Grinnan said.

The program coordinator also said that the Buy Local program helps them connect with regional associations across the state that the Ag Society would otherwise not, like Sustainable Nantucket, the organization supporting agriculture and fishing on the sister island. Sustainable Nantucket received a $40,000 grant through the Buy Local program, as did a number of nonprofits on the Cape and South Coast.

“Nourishing and healthy food is grown right here in Massachusetts, but not all of our residents have access to these local farms,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper is quoted in a press release announcing the $800,000 in funding. “This funding will help bridge that gap by investing in our Buy Local organizations, farmers, and environmental justice communities. Everyone, regardless of race or income, deserves access to fresh, local products.”