GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Berkshire Agricultural Ventures’ (BAV) has announced two new grants that will help both a farm and a food producer.
One of the grants is a $3,020 matching grant to Shaker Creek Farm located in Stephentown, New York that will be used to expand the farm’s pasture-raised poultry enterprise.
It will also help farm owners, Alison Basdekis and Keegan Schelling to purchase and build five new chicken tractors.
“BAV’s investments in small operations like ours have allowed us to scale to a level that can meet more demand, and give us the chance to make our enterprise viable. Without this support, we wouldn’t have been able to build infrastructure that has allowed us to make the leap to farm full time,” said Alison Basdekis, Co-Owner of Shaker Creek Farm.
The second grant is a $5,000 matching grant to Smoke & Honey Co., a socially and environmentally conscientious beekeeping and farm-based business located in the Berkshires and the Hudson Valley.
“As a fourth-generation beekeeper in a field largely dominated by older white men, I recognize my role as a gatekeeper to agricultural resources and knowledge. With our recent grant from BAV, we have been able to leverage some of this privilege to help teach and empower a diverse next generation of beekeepers,” said Curtis Mraz, owner of Smoke & Honey Co.
The grant will also help with educational programming by providing free hives, bees, and beekeeping lessons to aspiring beekeepers of color in the Berkshires and the Hudson Valley.