The program partners with local governments to build new food and agricultural infrastructure

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Eight projects will receive nearly $ 160,000 in funding under the first cycle of the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Development Fund infrastructure grant program.

Projects supported by this round of funding support local food systems and include new and existing meat processors, goat dairies, farmers’ markets and community canneries.

“With agriculture being our largest industry and often the main driver of our rural economies, it is vitally important to make the targeted investments that our farmers and food producers rely on,” Governor Ralph Northam said. “These grants will help diversify Virginia agriculture to all corners of the Commonwealth. I congratulate the communities for presenting such interesting projects and thank them for their partnership.

AFID’s infrastructure program finances a wide variety of projects that will have a direct impact on both producers through improved infrastructure and on consumers by expanding access to fresh and local produce. In addition, more than half of the project takes place in economically struggling communities, with several focusing on expanding access to fresh food to underserved communities through the use of the benefits of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance program. and Virginia Fresh Match.

“Virginia agriculture is supported in many ways by the community of smallholder farmers and food producers who produce high quality products for their local communities,” said Agriculture and Forestry Secretary Bettina Ring. “By partnering with these communities to make small but significant investments in these local food systems, we are helping unleash the potential of these farmers and food producers to do even more. I am pleased with the quality and variety of projects that this new AFID Fund program is able to support and look forward to many more shared successes in support of sustainable agriculture in the Commonwealth.

In 2021, Northam signed the House Bill 2068, creating the AFID infrastructure program. The new program awards matching grants of up to $ 25,000 in partnership with local governments to develop community infrastructure development supporting local food production and sustainable agriculture. Targeted projects include food centers, farmers’ markets, commercial kitchens and other value-added facilities such as those for processing and packaging meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables or other products. grown in Virginia.

AFID’s infrastructure program provides reduced matching requirements for economically struggling and underserved communities, and promotes projects that serve multiple producers.

“The local food and agricultural infrastructure program benefits both our communities and our farmers,” said Del. Sam Rasoul. “In the first round of grants, more than half of the projects take place in communities in economic difficulty, giving these communities access to food and fresh produce. This is exactly what building a sustainable future should look like. “

The following projects receive funding under the first cycle of the AFID Infrastructure Grants Program:

Equipment for the New Meat Processor, Floyd County | $ 23,124

The Floyd County Economic Development Authority is partnering with Firehouse Farms to establish a new meat processing facility for local ranchers. The facility will open as a customs-free facility later this winter and become a USDA inspected facility in two to three years. Funding will be used to purchase the equipment needed for the installation, including meat saws, a meat grinder and a vacuum sealer.

New boilers for community canneries, Franklin County | $ 25,000

Funding for this project will support infrastructure improvements at the Callaway Cannery and Glade Hill Community cannery. Canneries allow community members and local producers to support each other and preserve their harvests. The funds will be used to replace the boilers at the facility, which has been in service for 80 years.

Meat Processor Improvements, Town of Harrisonburg | $ 25,000

The town of Harrisonburg is seeking funds to make necessary infrastructure improvements at T&E Meats, a small USDA-inspected red meat slaughterhouse and meat packing facility that has been operating since 1940 and serves about 300 producers each year. Funding for this project will be used to replace the obsolete packaging room cooling system and purchase a new pancake machine.

Farmers’ Market Improvements, Henrico County | $ 16,000

Henrico County is seeking funds to support the Dorey Park Farmers’ Market (DPFM). DPFM recently completed its fourth year of operation, welcoming 25 to 30 suppliers, 17 of which are growers or create value-added agricultural products from produce grown in Virginia. DPFM offers SNAP benefits and a SNAP Match program for fresh produce purchases. Funding will be used to add electricity for vendors, landscaping to outline the market space, signage and structure to house market management and SNAP benefits.

Processing Equipment for Goat Dairies, King William County | $ 16,675

King William and King & Queen counties have teamed up to apply for funding for new equipment that will serve three goat dairies (Bees Knees Farm, Riverwatch Farm and Cardinal Lane Farm). The farms practice sustainable agriculture, source local hay, and sell their produce to local retailers and wineries. The funding will be used to purchase a commercial milking system, cheese processing equipment and the dairy expansion.

Farmers’ Market Improvements, Town of Martinsville | $ 4,088

This project will help the Town of Martinsville improve the Uptown Martinsville Farmers Market. The funds will be used to purchase blinds to protect products and sellers from the sun, new commercial-grade scales to speed up transactions and a storage shed. In addition to securing valuables when the market is closed, it will serve as the office for the market manager and provide an easily identifiable location for customers to enjoy SNAP benefits.

New boiler for community cannery, Prince Edward County | $ 25,000

Prince Edward County is seeking funds to replace the nearly 50-year-old boiler system at the Prince Edward County Cannery, which has failed to meet growing demand. As an FDA registered food canning and VDACS inspected commercial kitchen establishment, the facility serves both public and commercial customers through an innovative partnership with nonprofit Virginia Food Works .

Product Aggregation Infrastructure, Shenandoah County | $ 25,000

Shenandoah County, in partnership with the Town of New Market, is requesting funding to enable local produce aggregator Jon Henry General Store to quickly freeze large volumes of Virginia-grown fruits and vegetables from growers in the Virginia area. the Shenandoah Valley, then pack the frozen products into retail. ready-made bags for wholesale distribution to local retailers. The funds will be used to offset the cost of purchasing and installing a new blast freezer and walk-in freezer.

The next application period for AFID’s Infrastructure Grants program will run this spring from April 1 to May 15, 2022, and award announcements will be made by June 30, 2022. Additional information on the AFID program development infrastructure for agricultural and forestry industries are available here. Questions about the program and upcoming application workshops should be directed to [email protected]

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