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Grants boost Rhode Island jobs

Posted on March 5, 2019

A number of new grants will go towards strengthening Rhode Island jobs.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) reminds local farm and food businesses that $270,000 in grant funding is available to support small businesses and increase the competitiveness of local products in the marketplace. The funding is part of the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) and Farm Viability grant programs – which, combined, have invested over $3 million to accelerate growth of Rhode Island’s green economy.

Up to $20,000 awards are available through the LASA grant program to help spur growth of local agriculture, aquaculture, and seafood industries. Eligible entities include new and small farmers, fishers, food producers, and non-profits. Both program and capital projects are eligible for funding. Priority is given to initiatives that:

1. support the entry, growth, and sustainability of small or beginning Rhode Island farmers, aquaculture producers, and fishers; 2. foster new collaborations or share new information among Rhode Island’s food partners; 3. support new products or new sales channels for clearly defined markets; 4. enhance access to and availability of agricultural land for producers, including farm transition planning and implementation; or 5. address gap areas or implementation needs identified in Rhode Island’s Food Strategy, Relish Rhody (www.relishrhody.com). Now in its sixth year, LASA helps new and existing small businesses and food initiatives prosper in Rhode Island. To date, LASA has provided over $1.1 million – through grants up to $20,000 – to support the growth of Rhode Island’s local food economy. The state’s food scene is often cited as an area of economic strength ripe for innovation and growth. Already, the local food industry supports 60,000 jobs, and the state’s green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy annually.

Eligible entities include farmers or community groups engaged in research, marketing, food safety/security, plant health, buy-local initiatives, and/or development of cooperatives. Projects will be funded for up to two years. Funded projects must support the broad competitiveness of locally-grown specialty crops in Rhode Island. Initiatives that benefit a sole commercial product or provide a profit to a single individual or group will not be considered

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