Two Berkshire Area Farms Receive Agricultural Grants
Berkshire Agricultural Ventures has announced two new grants, one to Shaker Creek Farm and the other to Smoke & Honey Company.
According to a media release from Berkshire Agricultural Ventures, a $3,020 matching grant to Shaker Creek Farm located in Stephentown, NY will expand the farm’s pasture-raised poultry enterprise.
According to the release, this grant will help provide up to 3,000 chicks, staggered batches of 500 at a time, who will be raised on pasture land with local grain, organic, soy-free grain feed. The grant also allows farm owners, Alison Basdekis and Keegan Schelling to purchase and build five new chicken tractors, which allows a chicken flock to move around their pasture, constantly having fresh vegetation and allowing used sections to be fertilized by chicken waste.
Like BAV, we believe in the possibility of regional food systems for a healthier and more just society. BAV's investments in small operations like ours have allowed us to scale to a level that can meet more demand, and give us the chance to make our enterprise viable. Without this support, we wouldn't have been able to build infrastructure that has allowed us to make the leap to farm full time. ~ Alison Basdekis, Co-Owner of Shaker Creek Farm
Shaker Creek Farm will be offering fresh and frozen pasteurized whole chickens by order or at the New Lebanon Farmers Markets, Hudson Valley Farmers Markets, and Random Harvest Market. For more information visit https://www.shakercreekfarm.com
BAV has also announced a $5,000 matching grant to Smoke & Honey Co., a socially and environmentally conscientious beekeeping and farm-based business located in the Berkshires and the Hudson Valley. The grant advances educational programming by providing free hives, bees, and beekeeping lessons to aspiring beekeepers of color in the Berkshires and the Hudson Valley.
As a fourth-generation beekeeper in a field largely dominated by older white men, I recognize my role as a gatekeeper to agricultural resources and knowledge. With our recent grant from BAV, we have been able to leverage some of this privilege to help teach and empower a diverse next generation of beekeepers. Like us, BAV also understands that our food systems are dependent on these crucial pollinators and that we can’t have bees without another generation of well-trained beekeepers. ~ Curtis Mraz, owner of Smoke & Honey Co.