Farm Fresh Rhode Island gets $2.1M to boost farmers markets, promote local seafood

FARM FRESH RHODE ISLAND is getting $2.1 million in federal grants to support farmers markets and promote local seafood.

PROVIDENCE – Farm Fresh Rhode Island has been awarded $2.1 million in federal grants to support farmers markets, promote local seafood and encourage healthy eating.

The grants include $1.6 million to expand access to fresh, locally grown foods across New England and $538,000 to develop new market opportunities for fishermen and producers serving local markets, Sen. Jack Reed’s office announced on Monday.

“Farm Fresh Rhode Island has a proven track record of sustainably growing our food economy,” said Reed, D-R.I., in a news release. “These new federal funds will allow them to expand their reach, connect more families to fresh produce, and help farmers and fishermen build their business.”

The grants include extended funding for the Rhode Island Bonus Bucks nutrition incentives program in Rhode Island.  Bonus Bucks deliver a 100% match for fresh fruits and vegetables for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program users at select Rhode Island farmers markets and farm stands.

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In 2019, the Bonus Bucks program helped more than 2,500 shoppers buy fresh produce at 36 farmers markets across Rhode Island, according to Thea Upham, director of programs at Farm Fresh Rhode Island.

The federal funds will also help launch a statewide marketing and outreach campaign to promote local seafood and farm producers across Rhode Island, while also providing training and technical assistance for farmers and fishermen.

“We are looking forward to strengthening opportunities for local fishermen to access direct sales through training and technical assistance to both producers and farmers market managers,” said Upham.

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