Hannaford Supermarkets on Tuesday announced a $250,000 donation to support farms throughout New England and New York adversely impacted by the coronavirus global health pandemic.
As a result of the donation, a total of 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 COVID-19 crisis.
The donation will directly support small local farmers and producers who have experienced market disruptions as their primary buyers and points of sale, including farmers markets, restaurants and schools, have closed or drastically decreased operations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“As a company founded by Maine farmers more than 137 years ago, Hannaford has deep connections to the agriculture industry,” said Hannaford Supermarkets president Mike Vail. “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.”
He added, “We hope this donation will support farmers during this difficult time and enable them to continue providing high-quality, fresh food to our communities for years to come.”
Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford Supermarkets, a division of Ahold Delhaize USA, operates 183 stores in the Northeast.
Since its inception in March, the American Farmland Trust’s Farmer Relief Fund has provided critical funding to more than 1,000 local farms throughout the U.S. 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.
“American Farmland Trust is grateful for Hannaford’s support of the Farmer Relief Fund. Their investment in 250 farms across New England and New York comes at a critical time," said American Farmland Trust director of corporate partnerships Ryan Lauer. “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.”
A total of 250 farms will receive funding as a result of the donation from Hannaford, including 100 farms in Maine; 66 farms in Vermont; 51 farms in New York; 23 farms in New Hampshire; and 10 farms in Massachusetts.
One of the farms receiving a grant through the Fund is the Maine Mushroom Company in Augusta, Maine, which is owned and operated by a husband and wife team and primarily sells its gourmet mushrooms to restaurants. The farm 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,” said Maine Mushroom Company owner Amanda Olson. “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.”
Individuals who wish to make donations can do so online at American Farmland Trust’s Farmer Relief Fund.
Since March 2020 and throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Hannaford has donated $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, including hunger relief and homeless outreach organizations. Its parent company, Ahold Delhaize USA, has committed $10 million to a relief package across all its banners, which include Stop & Shop, Food Lion, Giant Food, The GIANT Company and Hannaford.
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