Hannaford is helping 250 farmers in its Northeast footprint through a $250,000 donation to the American Farmland Trust’s Farmer Relief Fund.
Hannaford Supermarkets has donated $250,000 to support farms throughout its retail footprint of New England and New York that were adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The donation to the American Farmland Trust’s Farmer Relief Fund will help 250 farms in Maine (100), Vermont (66), New York (51), New Hampshire (23), and Massachusetts (10). The fund provides small farmers and producers with grants to help them with challenges encountered during the COVID-19 crisis, including market disruptions as their primary buyers and points of sale have closed or drastically decreased operations to prevent the spread of virus.
“As a company founded by Maine farmers more than 137 years ago, Hannaford has deep connections to the agriculture industry,” said Mike Vail, president of Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford. “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. 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.”
Since it began in March, the Farmer Relief Fund has provided critical funding to more than 1,000 local farms throughout the United States, enabling farmers to modify their business model to serve the current marketplace, such as creating new online storefronts and socially distant distribution sites, or improving safety precautions and sanitary practices for workers.
“American Farmland Trust is grateful for Hannaford’s support of the Farmer Relief Fund,” noted Ryan Lauer, director of corporate partnerships at the Washington, D.C.-based trust. “Their investment in 250 farms across New England and New York comes at a critical time. 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.”
“The pandemic has been devastating to our business,” affirmed Amanda Olson, owner of the Main Mushroom Company, in Augusta, Maine, one of the farms receiving a grant through the fund. “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.”
Since March 2020, Hannaford has donated $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts, among them hunger relief and homeless outreach organizations.
Other food retailers to help farmers weather the crisis include The Kroger Co. and Publix Super Markets, which each launched programs to purchase excess dairy and, in Publix’s case, produce items from farmers faced with a glut of such products that would otherwise have gone to restaurants, schools and other coronavirus-related shuttered businesses. These items were then donated to feed the hungry.