Sarah Costa

Sarah Costa is shown last year with one of her calves at Manning Hill Farm in Winchester.

A pair of Winchester farms, and a third in Nelson, were awarded funding as part of the Monadnock Food Co-op’s 2021 Farm Fund program, the grocery announced Monday.

The program distributed a total of $29,000 to Lucky 13 Farm and Manning Hill Farm, both in Winchester, and Partners’ Gardens in Nelson, according to a news release from the co-op. The Farm Fund program, created in partnership with the Cheshire County Conservation District, aims to support area farmers, create a sustainable food system and improve the local economy.

Since 2017, the fund has distributed $87,000 to 16 local farms. Funds for the program come from donations by the co-op and its customers, with additional contributions from the You Have Our Trust Fund.

“Our Farm Fund is an essential way to invest in the future of local, sustainable farming in our region,” Michael Faber, Monadnock Food Co-op general manager, said in a prepared statement. “Especially in these times, it helps ensure we have a healthy, local food system for our community now and into the future.”

Lucky 13 Farm — which sells organic vegetables and eggs — will use the money to construct a shed to build its capacity for selling to wholesale markets, the release says. Manning Hill Farm, which sells glass-bottled milk, eggs, beef and pork, will use its share of the money to install a walk-in freezer to store cut meat and help increase production to meet rising demand.

Partners’ Gardens, which sells organic produce, will build a solar propagation house for seed starting, which will allow the farm to increase its capacity, lower its dependence on fossil fuels and reduce its heating bill.

Fundraising is underway for next year’s Farm Fund program, the release says, noting that $19,000 had already been collected. During the months of April, July and December, co-op shoppers will be able to round up their change at the register to donate to the fund.

More information can be found online at monadnockfood.coop/farmfund. Those interested in making a tax-deductible donation can do so by contacting Amanda Littleton at the Cheshire County Conservation District, at 756-2988, extension 4. Donations can also be made online at cheshireconservation.org/make-a-donation.

Mia Summerson can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or msummerson@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter

@MiaSummerson.