BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP)– The supplemental spending bill signed by Governor Baker includes $500,000 for statewide Buy Local organizations to continue efforts to expand consumer purchasing of locally grown food that supports local agriculture and farms.
In FY07, the Legislature provided funding for the original four Buy Locals. Since then, the Legislature has supported an increase in funding to $500,000 annually to grow the number of Buy Locals to cover every region in the state. The necessity of their work has only increased during the COVID19 pandemic as Massachusetts farms endeavor to identify new customers and/or maintain the customers they have gained.
Massachusetts is home to 7,241 farms on 491,653 acres. Almost 26,000 people are directly employed by farms, generating over $475 million in agricultural goods. In the state, 94% of the farms are small and 80% are family or individually owned, with the average farm producing $65,624 worth of agricultural products on 68 acres.
Direct market sales are a key feature of the state’s agriculture industry. Massachusetts ranks 5th in the nation for direct market sales with over $100 million annually, and ranks 3rd in the nation for direct market sales per farm at $55,384. Direct market sales are 21.1% of the state’s total sales of agricultural products—the highest proportion of any state in the country.
The geographic areas represented by Buy Locals are:
• Berkshire County
• Connecticut River Valley and the hill towns (Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin counties)
• Central Massachusetts (Worcester County)
• Greater Boston (Suffolk County and parts of Middlesex County)
• North of Boston (Essex County and parts of Middlesex County)
• Southeastern Massachusetts (Bristol, Plymouth, and Norfolk Counties)
• Cape Cod (Barnstable County)
• Martha’s Vineyard (Dukes County)
• Nantucket (Nantucket County)
More information about the Buy Local program can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/buy-local-groups