Maine farmers impacted by COVID-19 crisis receive Maine Farm Emergency Grants
KENDUSKEAG, Maine (WABI) - A number of small Maine farms have received another round of funding to help get them through the winter.
$47,960 was given out in this round thanks to two organizations.
“We have a tight budget, and we try and plan all of that ahead of time, but then we had so many things unexpected come up. It was scary,” said Brittany Hopkins of Wise Acres Farm in Kenduskeag. “We really appreciated the help to kind of accommodate and deal with that.”
Hopkins grows certified organic produce on more than 2 ½ acres.
When the pandemic began, she wondered how she would continue to operate.
Wise Acres Farm was one of 38 across the state to receive up to $2,000 in assistance.
Hopkins decided to use the $1,500 they received to purchase Personal Protective Equipment and a hand washing station for her small group of employees.
“It definitely still makes a difference and moves the needle, and it makes us feel more confident going into next season as well,” explained Hopkins.
In addition to the pandemic, Hopkins worked through a severe drought.
“Dealing with that and some of the other variations in climate that we’ve seen over the past couple years due to climate change has been challenging already, so to be having a pretty tough growing year on top of the pandemic adjustments we had to make, yeah, it was a hard year,” said Hopkins.
Helping in the relief efforts was Maine Farmland Trust.
They’ve been a part of distributing nearly $200,000 to farms dealing with the impact of COVID-19.
“A number of farms are also using it to invest into new ways of getting their food to people, particularly we saw a lot of farms using it to sort of beef up their farm stands or these low-contact ways of getting their food to their customers.”
Wise Acres Farm has been able to do this at the Bangor Farmers’ Market.
“Our farm and several others at that market and throughout the state, I think, have done a preorder system, so you can go online and shop, purchase the vegetables, and then we pack them up here and bring them to the farmers’ markets so people get a bag and go rather than having to wait in line.”
To learn more about Wise Acres Farm visit their website.
“We know there’s more need in our farm community than what we were able to meet with these grants, and we’ll continue to offer technical assistance for all of the farms in our network. There could still be more challenges to come as farms continue to deal with the pandemic into 2021. We’ll be monitoring the situation closely and will continue to advocate at the state and federal levels for Maine’s farms.”
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