2018 marks BAV’s first full year as an independent nonprofit, and we could not be more proud of the work we accomplished side by side with our supporters and partners. As a result of our work, BAV was recognized by 1Berkshire with the 2018 Trendsetter Award for Growing and Advancing the Berkshire Economy.
Thank you to our community of businesses, donors, partners and friends for your continued support to expand our reach and improve our local food economy. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the projects in the report please contact us at 413-645-3594.
It is April, and that means ALL MONTH when you round up at check-out at the Berkshire Food Co-op your change will be donated to Berkshire Ag Ventures.
We are thankful to the Co-op owners who voted to include BAV in the 2019 recipients. This wonderful program supports 12 nonprofits a year by asking customers if they’d like to round up their total to the nearest dollar so their spare change can MAKE BIG CHANGE in our community. So shop often and say “yes” to rounding up!
BAV is a proud sponsor of the 2019 ThinkFOOD Conference at Bard College at Simon’s Rock held April 13, 2019 from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Registration is $25 (free to students) and an optional $10 add on for a locally sourced lunch.
This year’s theme, “Berkshire Pollinators,” embraces the community’s interest in bees and pollination, and will also showcase local food entrepreneurs whose ideas can inspire innovation in other communities.
BAV’s own Emil Ghitman Gilkes will be leading a workshop on Aquaponics.
Great Barrington, MA – Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV), with Dirt Capital Partners and North Plain Farm, LLC, are pleased to announce their partnership in purchasing an 82 acre riverfront parcel in Great Barrington to preserve as affordable farmland in perpetuity.
Dirt Capital Partners and BAV provided financial support toward the purchase of the $1.1 million parcel by farmers Sean Stanton and Tess Diamond of North Plain Farm, LLC on September 25, 2018.
This is the first such collaborative venture with these partners taking a landmark step toward promoting farmland affordability in the Berkshires. This will be achieved through the pursuit of Agricultural Protection Restriction (APR) from the State of MA. This process to receive this funding is well underway.
This purchase is a testimony to Sean and Tess’s decade-long dream and commitment to this property. They intend to concentrate their farming operations in one corridor and scale up their sustainable pasture-based enterprises, while preserving this prime parcel of agricultural land.
“The acquisition of this property will allow us to revive this beautiful pastureland. We are incredibly grateful and excited for the future of our farm and most of all, for the opportunity to preserve this land in our community for generations to come,” said Tess. “Berkshire Agricultural Ventures and Dirt Capital Partners understood the value of this project right away and helped us see our vision through. It was a pleasure to work with this team.”
The site also includes a large barn and rental housing for community residents and future beginning farmers who will participate in a resident apprenticeship program onsite. The property is mostly cleared land with meadows, hardwood borders, woodlands, streams, a pond and a Housatonic River backwash.
For BAV, this acquisition marks a significant milestone in the organization’s support of farmland preservation and transition. According to BAV’s Executive Director, Cynthia Pansing, “Farmland affordability is a huge challenge in the Berkshires. We hope this project will serve as a model for future preservation and land management efforts. Farm viability and the health of our food system depend on it.”
This is Dirt Capital’s first project in Massachusetts. “This project will enable North Plain Farm to invest in the land, and apply regenerative agricultural practices in a way that short-term leases do not allow,” said Jacob Israelow, Dirt Capital’s Founder and Managing Director. “Protecting this farm and its frontage on the Housatonic River will keep this as a community resource in perpetuity. And BAV’s creative and flexible financing were critical to making it happen.”
We at BAV are thrilled to be the 2018 recipient of the 1Berkshire Trendsetter Award for Growing/Advancing the Economy! Congratulations to all the finalist and winners, it was an honor to be in your company. And many thanks to all the organizers at 1Berkshire and their sponsors for such a wonderful evening and celebration of our community.
“My mother raised me, from an early age, with a connection to nature and food, and thinking about healthier ways of eating. For two years we lived in a small village in Switzerland where I was able to explore the world around me freely. The Berkshires reminds me of it.” – Cynthia Pansing, BAV ED
The inaugural edition of our Community Impact Report is now available. We have much good news to share about Berkshire Agricultural Ventures and the local farms and food businesses we have helped support over the last year. Included you will find highlights of the businesses we have supported over the past year, as well as a look ahead at some exciting projects moving forward in 2018.
Thank you to our community for your support, enthusiasm and energy in growing our regional food economy. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the projects in the report please contact us at 413-645-3594.
Berkshire Agricultural Ventures Executive Director, Cynthia Pansing, featured as a Guest Columnist in the March issue of Berkshire Trade and Commerce Monthly
“With current economic and consumer trends, the food and farming sector remains an area of continued high growth. It is also an important investment arena not only for those who focus on the traditional markers of economic development – dollars, jobs and wages – but also for those who are more interested in the creation of social value and patient capital as the pathway to long-term and sustained growth, as we are with Berkshire Agricultural Ventures.
There are numerous promising farms and food businesses here in the Berkshires that demonstrate the power of an entrepreneurial idea translated into a business venture – and, in some cases, are addressing fundamental infrastructure needs of the regional food sector.” – Cynthia Pansing, BAV Executive Director
Read the full Op-Ed titled “Growing the Berkshire regional food economy – a path for the future” on page 8: March 2018 BTAC Op-Ed