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Are you in this Seed Season?

Posted Thursday, February 15, 2024

Imagine . . .

You are 78 years old, a farmer. Your family has farmed and cared for the land for three generations with their hands, hearts, and minds.

Your life is in that farm: it’s your retirement fund, and your world. You want to see it keep going—for your family’s sake, and because it’s a big part of what makes your community what it is and needs to be.

But you’re not sure you can do it anymore. The wear and tear on your body, rising costs, unpredictable and extreme weather are wearing you thin.

Deep down, you know your only real asset is your land. There are buyers, but they are not farmers. They will not keep the land in farming. They will clear the forest that lies beyond the fields.

You look out at the land you love and wonder how you can keep doing it. Or pass the farm on to someone who will care for it and keep it productive and healthy.

What do you do?

Imagine you’re 42 and you’re a farmer.

You’ve been hopping from one leased farm plot to another, hoping to find a permanent home. But it hasn’t worked out yet. You have kids. It isn’t practical, or possible, to keep investing in your farm operation when you have to keep leaving those investments behind. All because you don’t own the farmland or live on the land you farm.

This is frustrating, because you are GREAT at what you do.

You want to buy farmland to invest in yourself and the community. You know that now, more than ever, we need to protect local food sources and food producers.

But all the farmland you can find is priced to sell for non-farm purposes. $20,000 an acre. And you need at least 100 acres to make a real go of it. That’s $2 million, and simply not possible.

Meanwhile, potential buyers are knocking on your landlord’s door. They are not farmers.

What do you do?

These are realistic situations in the Berkshires.

Farmland is disappearing fast. Local food and local work are endangered. We are at a tipping point.

And the last USDA Agricultural census showed that 10% of Berkshire farms have disappeared.

Farm viability requires a community of supporters, but also of other farmers. If we don’t act, more Berkshire farms will slip away.

What can YOU do?

You can make a difference forever, before it’s too late: a Seed Season donation to BNRC’s Berkshire Farms Fund.



It’s a NEW way you can help with farmland succession, protection, and secure farmer access to growing lands in a lasting way.


It’s now. It’s winter. It’s when we prepare for the planting, tending, and harvest to come.

Plant seed! It will grow!

  • YOU WILL conserve a neighborhood CSA farm in Clarksburg and ensure its long-term care by a succeeding farmer, who will cultivate the farm for decades more (and pass it on to another farmer someday).
  • YOU WILL protect a farm and forest in Pittsfield that provides a vital connection to larger conservation corridors for local climate resilience and endangered wildlife habitat.
  • YOU WILL enable the creation of innovative, long-term leases on farmland that allow farmers to make infrastructure investments—such as neighborhood farmstands where families get picked-that-day produce while kids collect flowers for the dinner table.

BEST OF ALL … Berkshire Farm Fund dollars can COME BACK to the fund to be redeployed AGAIN . . .

When needed, BNRC can buy a farm, protect a farm, convey the farm at an affordable price to a succeeding farmer… and then the proceeds from that sale are reinvested in the BFF to be used for another farm project!!!

How do I start?

This season, if you are able, I want you to get in on the first half-million-dollar pilot of the BFF.

The Feigenbaum Foundation is in. Many private donors are in. We’re already halfway there.

Together, we can choose a different path. You can join the team.

Would you make a gift this SEED SEASON?


When YOU donate to the Berkshire Farms Fund, you’ll plant seeds that will bloom year after year: a perennial reinvestment in Berkshire farms, food security, climate health, and the scenic beauty of this region.

It might sound lofty.

But it’s just neighbors taking care of each other and taking care of the land.

Are you in?

In the mid-1960s, considering expanding industry, five Pittsfield-area business leaders got together to begin protecting Berkshire land for conservation, wildlife, forests, waters, and such in the Berkshires. FIVE people.

Today over 200,000 Berkshire acres are conserved. Wow.

Let’s do something like that for local farms and farmers.

Let’s sow something HUGE and lasting. Let’s make an investment that works in L O N G  A R C S.

Want to know more?

Call me or send an email.

Want to donate? EVERY donor matters, including you! (And no gift is too large!)


Imagine . . .

You are 78, a farmer, ready to rest. Thanks to people who read this letter and made a donation, BNRC has introduced you to a talented 42-year-old farmer ready to take the reins, and BNRC can make the arrangements—in a way where you can retire, and the land will continue to keep the region and its people, wildlife, unique and historic beauty, nurtured and well.

What do you do?

Rich Montone
Director of Development

P.S. Here is your chance to do something. Plant seed! Make a donation to join others in founding the Berkshire Farms Fund at There are so many ways to give—online, from your Donor Advised Fund or IRA, stocks, check, cryptocurrency, and more. Join a team that makes Berkshire life good. Berkshire farms are disappearing. It is up to us to act, together.