Farmers and Food Businesses Can Get a Boost with LASA Grants

Up to $270,000 in funding is available for Rhode Island food and farming businesses through the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act and Farm Viability Grant programs.

The Goddard Park farmers market. Photo from RI DEM website.

Need a little boost to help your local food or farm business? Up to $270,000 in grant funding is available for Rhode Island food and farming businesses. The deadline for applying for Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) grants is March 8, while the Farm Viability Grant Program is March 31.

The LASA grants are $20,000 or less each and they are meant to be used to spur growth of local agriculture, aquaculture and seafood industries. Eligible entities include new and small farmers, fishers, food producers and nonprofits. Up to $120,000 is available for the 2019 grant round. For more information on the LASA program or to apply, visit DEM’s website. Online applications are preferred and must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 8. The application is available here or on the RI Food Policy Council website’s LASA page.

The Farm Viability Grant Program grants range from $10,000 to $50,000, made possible by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. These grants support local specialty crop production as well as efforts to grow the marketplace for these crops in Rhode Island. USDA defines specialty crops as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, and nursery crops, including floriculture and turf grass.

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. A total of $150,000 is available for this grant round.  For more information on the Farm Viability program, visit DEM’s website. Applications accompanied by a W9 form should be mailed to DEM Division of Agriculture, Room 370, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908 and postmarked no later than March 31, 2019.

“These competitive grants will help farmers, fishers, and food businesses start or expand their operations in Rhode Island,” says Governor Gina M. Raimondo in a statement provided by Rhode island DEM. “Farming and fishing are increasingly vital to our economy and an important part of our heritage. With these investments, we’re boosting our state’s vibrant food economy and supporting Rhode Island-grown agricultural products and local seafood.”

 

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