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Edgartowns F.A.R.M. Institute to Use $60,000 MassDevelopment Loan for Municipal Water Tie-In Project, Irrigation, Farming Equipment

June 30, 2010

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086

MassDevelopment has provided a $60,000 Community Service 501(c)(3) Loan on behalf of The F.A.R.M. Institute (TFI) in Edgartown, a teaching farm that offers educational programs and provides the community with locally grown meat and produce. The Institute plans to use loan proceeds to connect the leased farm property to the local town water supply in Edgartown. A portion of the loan will also pay for irrigation equipment and tools.

“TFI hits for the triple crown by preserving open space, providing fresh produce, and educating people in Massachusetts about the important roles that farms play in the Commonwealth,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Robert L. Culver. “The Community Service 501(c)(3) Loan program complements our other offering that supports the Commonwealth's agricultural industry, the MassDevelopment/Strolling of the Heifers Small Farm Loan Program, and we're pleased the Institute found the right fit.”

TFI offers year-round programs on the culture and history of Martha's Vineyard farming, land preservation, nutritional awareness, humane livestock management, and entrepreneurial thinking and application.

“The loan from MassDevelopment allowed us to bring town water to our facilities, which the Health Department required to insure a healthy supply for the more than 1,000 youngsters participating in our various summer programs,” said President of the TFI Board of Directors Frank Wezniak. “We had to provide expensive bottled water last year. The funds came in time to do the work this spring so that the programs could start in June, right on time.”

More than three decades ago, Katama Farm, home of TFI, was nearly carved into more than 700 buildable lots. In 1979, the Town of Edgartown, with help from the Vineyard Conservation Society and the Vineyard Open Land Foundation, joined with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs to buy the property. The Edgartown Conservation Commission now requires that the property be leased only to farmers and used to preserve agriculture, conservation, and passive recreation.

MassDevelopment, the state's finance and development authority, works with businesses, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2009, MassDevelopment financed or managed 229 projects statewide representing the investment of nearly $1.2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are supporting the creation of 1,488 new housing units and 8,232 jobs: 3,362 permanent and 4,870 construction-related.