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USDA partners with Rhode Island to award over $1.5M to strengthen food supply chain infrastructure

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service today announced it has a cooperative agreement with Rhode Island under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI). Through this agreement, USDA and Rhode Island are working together to offer over $1.5 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain. Rhode Island is accepting applications for this Infrastructure Grant funding through Jan. 15, 2024.

In May 2023, USDA announced the availability of up to $420 million through RFSI to strengthen local and regional food systems. Through this program, AMS has entered into cooperative agreements with state agencies, commissions, or departments responsible for agriculture, commercial food processing, seafood, or food system and distribution activities or commerce activities in states or U.S. territories. RFSI is authorized by the American Rescue Plan.

“This partnership between USDA and Rhode Island is allowing critical funding to reach areas of the supply chain that need it most,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The projects funded through this program will create new opportunities for the region’s small and midsize producers to thrive, expand access to nutritious food options, and increase supply chain resiliency.”

Using RFSI funding, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) will fund projects that ensure a resilient food and agricultural supply chain by modernizing processing facilities, equipment, and infrastructure to improve market access and climate resiliency as well as increase value-added opportunities for the state’s farm to institution market. Additionally, projects will provide aggregation and processing facilities for underserved producers through multi-user facilities. The state’s priorities are informed by stakeholder engagement and outreach to underserved producers to better understand their needs.

“By helping local businesses and producers gain access to improved food infrastructure, the RFSI grants make Rhode Island’s local food system more resilient and inclusive,” said Governor Dan McKee. “The supply chain is at the heart of our local food system, and providing funding assistance for food infrastructure improvements allows Rhode Island’s vibrant food economy, food security, and supply chain resiliency to grow stronger.”

“Providing grants to local food businesses and producers is a critical part of DEM’s efforts to support a more locally based and resilient food system,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “The RFSI grants will further advance our collective efforts to bolster Rhode Island’s supply chain resiliency and food security by helping provide capital improvement funding for local food infrastructure. The development of food infrastructure helps cultivate opportunities for the local food economy to grow across the supply chain and expands consumer access to fresh, locally produced food.”

Those interested in receiving a subaward should apply directly through RIDEM by Jan. 15, 2024. AMS encourages applications that serve smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities.

Through the program and in addition to the Infrastructure Grant funding, RIDEM will support supply chain coordination and technical assistance to farmers and food businesses operating in processing, aggregation and distribution—all critical activities to support access to more and better markets for farmers.


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