Grant Family Farm of Essex has been awarded a John & Liolia Schipper grant from the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Agricultural Preservation Foundation.

These grants are focused on assisting Massachusetts farmers in becoming more economically viable and sustainable. Additionally, an emphasis was placed on new farmers facing challenges. 

"We are able to offer these grants through a generous bequest from the late John and Liolia Schipper," said Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation President Mark Amato in a prepared statement. "We had 13 excellent applications and unfortunately were only able to choose three finalists. We hope the interest in this program will continue and that the foundation will continue to offer these grants to deserving farmers." 

At the time of publication, it is unclear how much Grant Family Farm was awarded. According to the MFAPF website, the maximum grant amount is $3,000.

Milkmaid Farm, a meat producer based in Worcester County, and Small Farm, a vegetable farm based in Middlesex County, were also chosen to receive grants.    

Applications for the 2020 grant program will be available next fall with a deadline of Nov. 1. Applicants must be a regular Farm Bureau member in good standing or be sponsored by a regular member. 

Scholarship fundraising

A fundraising event will be held to support the Sarah Lufkin Memorial Scholarship Fund on Sunday, Jan. 26, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the Windward Grill, 109 Eastern Ave., Essex.

"The event celebrates the life of Sarah Lufkin who was taken from us much too soon," writes Laurie Lufkin in a prepared statement. "We honor her by raising money and awarding a scholarship to a student who is in college, engaged in a field that has a direct effect on children. Sarah was studying early childhood education when she was diagnosed with leukemia. In spite of her courageous three-year battle, she succumbed to the disease at 21 years old in April of 1997."

Recipients of the scholarship have gone on to New York University, Salve Regina, Salem State University, Elon College, and the University of Massachusetts. 

The event will feature food, live music from local musicians, a silent auction, and raffles. Tickets are $25 per person and are available at the door the night of the event.

Event organizers are currently seeking donations of goods and services for the raffle and silent auction. Potential donors may contact Laurie Lufkin at 978-985-6532 or Kim Lufkin Williams at 978-853-0845. 

Save the date

The Manchester Essex Regional School District will host a screening event for its 2020-2021 preschool program on Friday, Feb. 7. 

This is a combined screening to assess 3- and 4-year olds from Manchester and Essex who present with possible developmental delays and may require special education or who wish to be considered as a preschool Peer Pal for 2020-2021. 

As the preschool is integrated, meaning there are children with and without special needs in the classroom, a Peer Pal is a child who does not have special needs and wishes to be in a supportive role.

The screenings will be administered at Manchester Memorial Elementary School, 43 Lincoln St. in Manchester. Parents and guardians may schedule an appointment by calling the district's student services office at 978-525-6060. 

Quick hits

* Santander Bank, 17 Union St. in Manchester is displaying works by Gloucester photographer Donna Ardizzoni on its walls for the month of January.

* Essex's winter clam flats are due to open Wednesday. The town's selectmen unanimously voted on Aug. 15, 2017, to open the winter flats every year on Jan. 15 and to close the winter flats every year on April 15, at midnight; notwithstanding, the selectmen reserved their right to change their decision in the future should conditions warrant.

* The Essex Shipbuilding Museum hosts it latest installment of its Frame Up to Fit Out Speakers Series on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. in its Waterline Center, 66 Main St. "Never Before Seen Photos from the Archives" will presented by museum curator Jim Witham and Charlie Seavey. Frame Up to Fit Out is the only conversational speakers series where interruptions are welcome and questions are encouraged! Tickets, $10 for non-members and $8 for members, can be purchased online at a week prior to the talk or at the door. 

Town Talk is compiled by Michael Cronin. If you have a news tip or an item for Town Talk, please contact him at 978-675-2708, or


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