By Connecticut Weekly Agricultural Report
Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt announces that the Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) has awarded $2,031,000 million in funds to seven projects through funding from the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). These funds are meant to provide a combination of financial and technical assistance resources to facilitate projects and relationships that will help build long-term market opportunities and increase food supply chain resiliency.
“These projects will utilize LFPA cooperative agreement funds to address food insecurity in historically underserved communities by bringing fresh CT Grown food to their tables,” said Commissioner Hurlburt. “Connecticut’s agricultural producers will have increased market opportunity as more entities have the funding to support buying local foods.”
The LFPA program is authorized by the American Rescue Plan to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency. Eligible entities included pantry collaboratives, food hubs and aggregators, community health centers, and social service centers to purchase Connecticut Grown products with a focus on small and socially disadvantaged producers to be distributed to underserved communities.
The purpose of CT DoAg’s LFPA grant program is to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency through:
1. supporting local and socially disadvantaged producers through building and expanding economic opportunity, and
2. establishing and broadening partnerships with producers, the food distribution community, and local food networks to ensure the distribution of fresh and nutritious foods in rural, remote, or underserved communities.
These funds are meant to provide a combination of financial and technical assistance resources to facilitate projects and relationships that will help build long-term market opportunities and increase food supply chain resiliency.
CT DoAg received 22 applications totaling $5,678,521 in funds requested.
2022 Local Food Purchase Assistance awardees include:
- Brass City Harvest Regional Food Hub, Waterbury $300,000. Brass City Food Hub will procure CT Grown farm products from its existing network of producers, as well as seeks to add additional farms to source from for this program and beyond. Farm products will be distributed through the Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries, St. Vincent de Paul Mission, Hopeville Church Food Ministry, the Hispanic Coalition of Greater Waterbury, and the Waterbury Senior Center.
- City of Bridgeport and East End NRZ Market, Bridgeport $300,000. Led with the East End NRZ Market, this project will partner with CT farms to purchase CSA shares with supplemental products requested by the community to be distributed to low-income individuals and families identified through partner social service organizations, local schools, and senior centers. The East End Market will lead the creation of a community cookbook, outreach, and feedback on the program. The city will conduct outreach on existing assistance programs for low-income individuals.
- CLiCK Willimantic, Windham $281,000. In collaboration with the Windham Community Food Network Mesa Communitaria Project, the Willimantic Food Co-op/Covenant Soup Kitchen Food Box Program, and the Town of Mansfield Farms to Families Program serving several Tolland County towns, CLick will develop a producer collective and serve as an Eastern CT aggregation hub to source CT Grown farm products to expand these existing food distribution programs. Producers will receive technical assistance on food safety and value-added production as well as gain access to institutional markets and to CliCK food business members.
- Forge City Works, Hartford $250,000. Forge City Works in collaboration with Red Tomato, Hemingway’s, Hands on Hartford, Hartford Food System, and Hartford Hospital will connect CT Grown farm products to community food distributors by enabling ordering, packing, and delivery, to occur from existing CT farms that work with Red Tomato and Hartford area farms. Distributions will occur at Forge City Works, Hands on Hartford, Hartford Food System Mobile Market and CSA, the Food4Health Clinic at Hartford Hospital, and a planned grocery store on Broad Street.
- New London Community Meal Center, New London $300,000. In collaboration with FRESH New London, The Hispanic Alliance, and the New London Area Food Pantry, they will source CT Grown farm products to be used in preparing lunches and dinners served to clients at the Meal Center as well as for distribution through two New London pantries located at the Hispanic Alliance and the New London Senior Center. Recipients will be connected to services offered through project partners.
- Partners for Sustainable Healthy Communities (NW CT Food Hub), Torrington $300,000. The NW CT Regional Food Hub will aggregate CT Grown farm products from 15 small farms in their network to distribute bulk produce to 16 food pantries in Northwest CT. The hub will provide technical assistance and support to the farms on production planning and building sales channels as well as facilitate connections between the area pantries and farms.
- Vertical Church, West Haven, $300,000. Vertical Church will receive aggregate CT Grown food boxes for distribution to a network of pantries and senior food sites throughout greater New Haven.
For more information about the LFPA program click here.