Hannaford Supermarkets announced a $250,000 donation to support farms throughout New England and New York adversely impacted by the coronavirus global health pandemic.
As a result of the donation, a total of 250 farms in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Massachusetts will receive funding via the American Farmland Trust’s Farmer Relief Fund, which provides farmers with grants to help them navigate challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis.
The donation will directly support small local farmers and producers who have experienced market disruptions as their primary buyers and points of sale, including farmers markets, restaurants and schools, have closed or drastically decreased operations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“As a company founded by Maine farmers more than 137 years ago, Hannaford has deep connections to the agriculture industry. We have long highlighted locally-grown products in all of our stores and this donation is an extension of our commitment to the farmers and producers who serve such an integral role in nourishing our communities, preserving farmland and encouraging sustainability,” said Hannaford Supermarkets President Mike Vail. “We hope this donation will support farmers during this difficult time and enable them to continue providing high-quality, fresh food to our communities for years to come.”
Since its inception in March, the American Farmland Trust’s Farmer Relief Fund has provided critical funding to more than 1,000 local farms throughout the U.S. The grants are designed to provide farmers with resources to modify their business model to serve the current marketplace, such as creating new online storefronts and socially-distant distribution sites, or enhancing safety precautions and sanitary practices for workers.
“American Farmland Trust is grateful for Hannaford’s support of the Farmer Relief Fund. Their investment in 250 farms across New England and New York comes at a critical time,” said American Farmland Trust Director of Corporate Partnerships Ryan Lauer. “With many farmers facing reduced traffic at farmers markets, fewer sales to restaurants and an uncertain future – Hannaford is helping to stabilize operations for farmers that produce a diverse set of products and put food on our tables, a community well worth the investment.”
A total of 66 Vermont farms will receive funding as a result of the donation from Hannaford, including SVTFarm in Wells, a family-owned operation which produces wool, vegetables, fruit, flowers, eggs and meats and primarily sells at farmers markets. The farm will use the funding to establish an on-site stand to sell directly to consumers while maintaining social distancing during the pandemic.
“This donation is a symbol of partnership between non-profits, corporations and rural agriculture. I have been engaged in farming all my life and have worked tirelessly to craft a living from the land that aligns with my quality of life goals. There is nothing more important to me than sharing my agricultural knowledge with future generations,” said SVTFarm Owner Laura A. Burch.
Individuals who wish to make donations to the American Farmland Trust’s Farmer Relief Fund may do so online at https://farmland.salsalabs.org/farmerrelieffund/index.html.
Since March 2020, Hannaford has donated $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, including hunger relief and homeless outreach organizations.
About American Farmland Trust
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families. For more information, visit, Farmland.org.