At an essential time for local farmers, a group of community philanthropic leaders and businesses have come together to fund the Local Farmer Awards for the sixth year in a row. More than 70 farmers in Western Mass. received checks of up to $2,500 for farm infrastructure improvements and equipment. In all, this year’s Local Farmer Awards totaled $157,500. Over the past five years, the Local Farmer Awards have provided nearly $750,000 to support local growers, helping farmers expand their businesses, compete in the marketplace, and continue to provide the health and environmental benefits of local farming. As COVID-19 causes farmers to lose large customers such as restaurants and schools, the need for assistance is greater than ever.