Hannaford Supermarkets is donating $250,000 to support farms throughout New England and New York that have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus.
As a result of the donation, 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 pandemic.
“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 Mike Vail, president of Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford, in a release.
Since March, the 183-store Ahold Delhaize-owned retailer has donated $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, including hunger relief and homeless outreach organizations.
Meanwhile, the American Farmland Trust’s Farmer Relief Fund has provided critical funding to more than 1,000 local farms throughout the U.S. since its inception in March. 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.
“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,” said Ryan Lauer, director of corporate partnerships for American Farmland Trust, Washington, D.C.
One of the farms receiving a grant through the fund is the Maine Mushroom Co. in Augusta, Maine, which is owned and operated by a husband and wife team. The farm, which primarily sells its gourmet mushrooms to restaurants, lost all of its accounts within 24 hours when Maine restaurants were ordered to close in March.
“The pandemic has been devastating to our business. Our family relies on our farm income. Even more importantly, we rely on sales to put food on our family table. We know this is a challenging time for all farmers. This funding will be a tremendous help in keeping the farm afloat and in business,” said owner Amanda Olson.
Individuals who wish to make donations to the American Farmland Trust’s Farmer Relief Fund may do so online.