DEM: $150K available for farm viability grants

THE DEM has made $150,000 available in the form of farm viability grants. Above are Rhode Island grown peppers. / COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
THE DEM has made $150,000 available in the form of farm viability grants. Above are Rhode Island grown peppers. / COURTESY R.I. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Environmental Management says $150,000 in farm viability grant funding is available for projects that enhance a farm’s competitiveness of specialty crops grown in Rhode Island.

The DEM announced the funding Thursday. Grants will range from $10,000 to $40,000 with no direct match required.

Last fall, the DEM awarded $171,421 in farm viability grants.

“This competitive grant program will help strengthen markets for Rhode Island specialty crops and support local farming and food businesses,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “Consumer demand for locally-grown products is strong and is spurring growth in our state’s farming industry. We encourage farmers and others working to promote the long-term viability of locally-grown fruits, vegetables, nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops to apply for this exciting funding opportunity.”

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Funding for the grant comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant program. The grants cover crops such as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, and nursery crops – which includes Christmas trees, cut flowers, honey, hops and turf grass.

The DEM said that the funds may also be used for research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, trade enhancement, food safety, food security, plant health, product development, education, and “buy local” initiatives.

The funds are also eligible for programs that provide increased consumption and innovation, improved efficiency and reduced cost of distribution systems, environmental concerns and conservation and development of cooperatives.

The deadline to apply for funding is March 31.

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