PROVIDENCE – The U.S. Department of Agriculture Marketing Service has partnered with the state to offer more than $1.5 million in competitive grant funding for projects to strengthen Rhode Island’s food infrastructure.
The R.I. Department of Environmental Management will fund projects that include modernizing processing facilities, equipment, and infrastructure to improve market access and climate resiliency, as well as other opportunities to enhance the state’s farm-to-institution market. Additionally, projects will provide aggregation and processing facilities for underserved producers through multiuser facilities.
“By helping local businesses and producers gain access to improved food infrastructure, the RFSI grants make Rhode Island’s local food system more resilient and inclusive,” said Gov. Daniel J. McKee. “The supply chain is at the heart of our local food system, and providing funding assistance for food infrastructure improvements allows Rhode Island’s vibrant food economy, food security and supply chain resiliency to grow stronger.”
Through the program, RIDEM will support supply chain coordination and technical assistance to farmers and food businesses operating in processing, aggregation and distribution.
“Providing grants to local food businesses and producers is a critical part of DEM’s efforts to support a more locally based and resilient food system,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “The RFSI grants will further advance our collective efforts to bolster Rhode Island’s supply chain resiliency and food security by helping provide capital improvement funding for local food infrastructure. The development of food infrastructure helps cultivate opportunities for the local food economy to grow across the supply chain and expands consumer access to fresh, locally produced food.”
Rhode Island’s funding is part of $420 million the USDA is making available for food infrastructure programs nationwide.
RIDEM will be accepting applications until Jan. 15. Smaller farms, new and beginning farmers, underserved producers, veteran producers and underserved communities are encouraged to apply.