DEM awards $210K in local agriculture, seafood grants
LINDA KUSHNER, left, sells produce at the Hope Street Farmers Market. On Thursday, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management announced the agency had awarded $210,000 in grants to support 17 different projects geared toward helping farmers and local seafood businesses promote and market their Rhode Island-grown products.
PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Environmental Management has selected 17 projects, from among 92 applicants, to receive a total of $210,000 in funding from the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act Grants Program.
The recipients of the funding, announced by the DEM on Thursday, are for projects ranging from farm equipment to marketing to a mushroom house.
“The LASA grant program is an important step forward in Rhode Island toward building a vibrant local food economy in relation to farming and fishing,” said Ken Ayars, chief of the R.I. Division of Agriculture, who served as chair of the LASA Grants Advisory Committee. “It involves a unique and forward-thinking partnership between DEM, the [Rhode Island] Food Policy Council and other important non-profits who are committed to building a local, sustainable food system in Rhode Island.”
The LASA grants are funded by a public-private partnership, with $100,000 in state funding and additional funds from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation.
The Rhode Island Food Policy Council collaborates with DEM to administer the grants program.
“Rhode Islanders are eager to grow, eat and promote local food. The Local Agriculture and Seafood Act Grants Program is focused on supporting the growth of our local food sector to meet the growing demand of consumers,” said DEM Director Janet Coit.
Winners will be recognized at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Statehouse during the annual Rhode Island Agriculture Day program.
The 2014 LASA grant recipients are:
Adam Yorks (Little Compton) – $8,089 to install a root zone heating system into a high tunnel to extend the growing season of the farm.
Big Train Farm/Urban Edge Producer Collaborative (Cranston) – $17,000 for improvements to the wash station and to increase efficiencies at the seven small farms in the collaborative.
Brown Family Seafood (South Kingstown) – $16,000 to change the distribution process to increase marketing, traceability and understanding of local seafood.
Garden Time (Cranston) – $10,000 to start an herb garden and gardening/healthy eating educational program at the Adult Correctional Institute’s medium security facility.
Jamestown Oyster Company – $5,000 for materials used to increase oyster harvest.
Katie Miller and Ben Torpey, Scratch Farm (Cranston) – $9,975 to expand production and marketing capacity of Small State Seeds, a seed-breeding project for chemical-free, Rhode Island-grown vegetable, herb and flower seeds.
Little City Growers Cooperative (Providence) – $9,693 to expand sales, develop a unique brand and implement new marketing strategies and resources.
Newport Harbor Corporation (Newport) – $13,648 to promote increased consumption of top neck clams, a locally-harvested and under-utilized sea clam.
Red Planet Vegetable Farm (Johnston) – $13,480 for farm improvements to increase crop production and reduce labor costs, while incorporating green energy into farm operations.
Rhode Island Mushroom Company (South Kingstown) – $10,000 to for a second mushroom grow house to cultivate specialty mushrooms.
Rhode Island Shellfishermen’s Association (Warwick) – $7925 to produce three public service announcements highlighting commercial shellfishing and local shellfish available to Rhode Island consumers.
Sidewalk Ends Farm (Providence) – $11,000 for farm equipment and cold storage system infrastructure to grow the business.
Snake Den Farm (Johnston) – $16,400 for equipment to support the creation of a farmer/producer coop/community farm.
The Local Catch (Charlestown) – $7,500 to increase the presence of Rhode Island seafood at local farmers markets, increase community supported fisheries, improve brand awareness of Rhode Island-landed seafood and launch a web-based distribution channel.
Urban Greens Food Co-op (Providence) – $14,450 to utilize professional design services for the layout of an urban retail grocer with a focus on equal access, sustainably-sourced and local food.
Young Farmer Network – $19,840 to expand Young Farmer Nights programming, develop a short courses curriculum and enhance outreach efforts.
R.I. Department of Environmental Management and Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative – $20,000 for statewide seafood branding and marketing campaign.