USDA Awards $34.3M to Support Local Foods Infrastructure…including The Abundant Table!

repost from the USDA Farm to School program:

Tomatoes at farm stand

“Last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack helped kick off the harvest season by announcing awards for grant programs to support local and regional food systems. Several funded projects will expand farm to school projects, addressing needs such as food safety certification, delivery logistics, and coordinating catering services for early childhood centers. We’ll continue to keep you in the loop when future local food funding opportunities become available!

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is awarding $11.9 million in Local Food Promotion Program grants to 160 marketing and promotion projects for intermediary local food enterprises such as food hubs, aggregation businesses, local food processors, and farm to institution activities.

AMS is also awarding $13.3 million in Farmers Market Promotion Program grants to 164 marketing and promotion projects involved with farmers markets, community supported agriculture programs, and other direct-to-consumer outlets for local food.”

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The Abundant Table will receive $99,997 to support its, “Growing New Markets for Local Farmers in Low Access Communities” initiative.  This effort seeks to increase the number of low-income families able to purchase weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes by creating the county’s first EBT/SNAP approved CSA and deliver boxes to an expanded number of CSA sites in low-access areas of the county; partnering with the Ventura County Farm to School Collaborative to establish monthly pop-up stands at at least three schools where at least 50% of the students qualify for free or federally-reduced meals; increase the amount and variety of culturally-appropriate fruits and vegetables through CSA and farm-to-school programs; and increase English-learning community awareness of and access to local, seasonal produce through bilingual marketing and sales.

Incoming Executive Director, Nicole Janelle shares, “We are thrilled about this grant and what it will mean for our ability to increase our capacity to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to our county’s most underserved communities.  Moreover this grant builds upon our nutrition work among farmworker and low-income Latino families and our longstanding Farm-to-School work in the county to ensure that children are not just eating healthily at school, but that families are also able to eat healthily at home. Many thanks to outgoing Executive Director, Amy Grossman, and Sarah Nolan for excellent grant writing skills and the entire team for its amazing work in the community!”

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