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: Bangor Savings Bank is committed to the betterment of communities of Maine through investment in the wellbeing of its people. Therefore, Bangor Savings Bank has awarded a $25,000 donation to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) PFAS Emergency Relief Fund. This fund was organized by MOFGA and MFT to support farmers impacted by potential contamination from PFAS-- what is commonly known as “forever chemicals.”
In addition to the initial $25,000 donation, Bangor Savings Bank has pledged a Challenge Grant effective through March 31, in which all community donations made to the PFAS Emergency Relief Fund will be matched up to $25,000, for a total of $50,000 gifted. The money raised will help pay for PFAS testing, short-term income replacement for farms with confirmed high levels of contamination, and support access to mental health services for impacted farmers, farmworkers and Indigenous food and medicine growers. Any farmer coping with the effects of PFAS contamination is eligible for support regardless of their association with either organization or organic status. The fund is meant to serve as a safety net for local Maine farms by providing interim support while the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry works to create long-term support programming.
“Farmers are now facing extreme hardships and uncertainties about their futures,” said Bob Montgomery-Rice, President and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank. “Agriculture is essential to our way of life in Maine – from the generations of family farms that contribute to our economy, to the access to fresh, locally grown food for our communities. This critical gap fund supports Maine’s farmers and organizations like MOFGA and Maine Farmland Trust. We encourage the community to show their support alongside us by donating to farmers in need.”
MOFGA and MFT created this fund to assist farmers affected by PFAS contamination through various grants, but they are also working to spread awareness on the prevalence of this type of chemical contamination everywhere.
“Farmers are now facing a threat that they never imagined when they got into farming,” said Sarah Alexander, executive director of MOFGA. Amy Fisher, president and CEO of Maine Farmland Trust added, “This fund will help make sure that farmers who are facing extreme uncertainty about their futures get interim relief until they get the support they need from the state.”
Those who to donate can do so by visiting the PFAS Emergency Fund Donation page on MOFGA’s website.