Berkshire Agriculture Ventures

Investment - Resources - Collaboration: Growing the Future of Food in Our Community

Great Barrington, MA   |  www.berkshireagventures.org

Mission

Berkshire Agricultural Ventures’ mission is to support the development and viability of local farms and food businesses. We do this by offering technical and business assistance and provide flexible financing options including low-interest loans and grants, and other resources. Through our services, we lay the groundwork for building a robust, local food economy that makes fresh, healthy food available to all. Our service area includes farmers and food makers in Berkshire County, MA; Columbia and Dutchess Counties; NY, and Litchfield County, CT.

Ruling year info

2017

Interim Executive Director

Glenn Bergman

Main address

314 Main Street , Office 11

Great Barrington, MA 01230 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

81-4386302

NTEE code info

Agricultural Programs (K20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The food sector is one of the largest and fastest growing in the U.S. economy. Much of this expansion relies on industrial food production where the growth of produce and livestock are heavily subsidized to make them affordable to consumers. Products that are less expensive for consumers don't provide a good return for producers, particularly small- and medium-sized farms. In addition, commodity production is expensive, and in the long-term, damaging to our health and the health of our rural communities, our land and our water sources. About 3% of all Massachusetts farms have gross product sales of $500K and above, while almost 70% of the state’s farms gross less than $10K. Small- and medium-sized farm and food businesses are therefore, often constrained in their ability to grow and scale up. They may lack technical resources, capital, infrastructure or land, or resource-saving technologies for working landscapes. The absence of these resources can be a critical deterrent to growth.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Revolving Loan Fund

Below market, flexible term loans (1% to 2% interest, terms depend on needs)
Equity Investments
0% Interest Bridge Loans

Population(s) Served
Farmers
Adults

Targeted, small, one-time matching grants that address urgent needs.

Population(s) Served
Farmers
Adults

Business and financial planning
Marketing
Land access
Enhancing viability of farms and food businesses

Population(s) Served
Farmers
Adults

Regional infrastructure financing
Help package loans and equity investments

Population(s) Served
Farmers
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of one-on-one coaching sessions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Technical Assistance

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of organizational partners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total number of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Resilience Grant Fund

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Acres of farmland protected

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of jobs created and maintained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of loans issued

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Revolving Loan Fund

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of acres of farmland affected

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of dollars of private sector investments in agriculture attributable to the organization's efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total dollar amount of loans issued

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Revolving Loan Fund

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total dollar amount of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Resilience Grant Fund

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total number of farms and food businesses served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our core values are aligned with those of the 50-year plan, A New England Food Vision, to reach the goal of 50% local food produced regionally by 2060.

Farming and food businesses are together an important regional economic force.
The resilience of food and farming depends on access to nimble and scalable financing and technical assistance.
Access to healthy food is a fundamental human right.
The sustainable care of soil, land, forests and waterways are essential for regional resilience.
The success of the vision depends on collective action and collaboration.

The Berkshire region is increasing its presence in the national food landscape as a food destination, and providing fertile ground for a stronger and more resilient local food economy. To ensure this growth, our region requires systematic investment and support. BAV is uniquely positioned to significantly impact farms and food businesses by forging a path of greater resilience.

BAV projects will cumulatively align with these strategies:

• Regenerative agriculture – Strategies that help keep a farm system healthy and resilient in the face of climate change such as integrated crop/livestock systems, agroforestry and protecting adjacent woodlands, rotational grazing, water management, increasing pollinator habitat, food waste reduction, solar power and carbon sequestration through no-till farming.

• Improving land access – Partnering with land trusts and others to make farmland affordable for farmers.

• Season extension strategies - All-season growing, including cold storage, climate-controlled greenhouses using renewable energy and aquaponics.

• Processing and regional infrastructure - On- and off-farm processing equipment and facilities to increase income and enhance economic development, entrepreneurship and innovation.

• Strengthening business viability for small to medium scale producers while encouraging use of sustainable practices and improving community access to cost-competitive local food.

BAV helps entrepreneurs and businesses gain access to financial support by connecting borrowers, investors and grantors within our local community and outside our region. We develop wraparound technical assistance and educational programs that help build capacity and provide new skills to entrepreneurs and business owners. BAV also identifies and helps ensure an ongoing supply of affordable and productive farmland to meet community and regional needs.

1) Flexible financing for farms and food businesses –
• Community Revolving Fund – Below market interest loans and equity investments.
• Community Matching Grant – one-time grants based on urgent needs and community benefit.

2) Capacity-building assistance - Customized 1:1 no cost technical assistance to build capacity, scale up operations and enable new skill acquisition in the areas of business and financial planning, accounting, marketing, regenerative farming methods and enterprise development.

3) Regional infrastructure financing – Partnerships to address a fundamental challenge or bottleneck in the food supply chain to benefit farmers, businesses and communities.

Since 2016, BAV has facilitated over 50 projects supporting local farms and food businesses in MA, NY and CT. This has affected over 4000 acres of land, provided over $219,000 of technical assistance to community businesses, and enabled $758,000 in financing through low interest loans and matching grants. We have helped preserve 529 acres of farmland.

BAV won the 2018 1Berkshire Trendsetter Award for Growing/Advancing the Economy. BAV and our projects have been featured in Berkshire Magazine, Berkshire Trade and Commerce, Edible Berkshires and other publications. Through 1Berkshire’s Berkshire Blueprint 2.0, we were recently named as the organization to lead the implementation of countywide food and agricultural sector strategic priorities.

The next steps are to continue to grow the capital available in our Community Revolving Fund, build and implement a stronger Technical Assistance network, and deepen or roots in our communities by building and diversifying both our Board of Directors . This is the fund that enables the financing of low interest (1-2%), flexible term loans to local farmers and food businesses. The principal plus the interest repaid on loans originating from this fund will provide a sustainable source of capital for future projects again and again.

Financials

Berkshire Agriculture Ventures
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Berkshire Agriculture Ventures

Board of directors
as of 5/21/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Thomas Gardner

Neil Chrisman

Jennifer Dowley

Don Perdue

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 05/21/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/15/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.