USDA awards $200,000 grant to Augusta Locally Grown

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AUGUSTA (WJBF) – The United States Department of Agriculture Marketing Service awarded Augusta Locally Grown a $200,000 planning grant as part of the 2021 Local Foods Promotion Program.

Augusta Locally Grown (ALG) will use funds for a feasibility study to determine best practices to increase farmer product support and community access with the availability of a new resource site, The HUB.

This 35,000 sq ft building will involve expanding ALG’s programs to make local food accessible and affordable in the exact same location as the Harrisburg Free Family Health Clinic.

A feasibility study will allow for a workable plan to be implemented across the CSRA with all stakeholders input accounted for.

The implementation plan from the feasibility study will allow ALG to increase point of sale opportunities for producers, business access to healthy food options for vulnerable consumers, and food education for consumers.

“The Southeast part of the U.S. historically has been disinvested for sustainable agriculture infrastructure. In contrast, we saw the sustainable AG movement shine as sales quintupled while the groceries store shelves remained bare for 2020. We are constantly seeing the small business farmer fill in the gaps for fresh food access despite the little infrastructure investment.This study is catalistytic for the infrastructural growth that is coming through The HUB. Our sustainable AG programs increased food access and 130 sustainable AG jobs in Augusta alone last year.”

Rebecca van Loenen, Executive Director of Augusta Locally Grown

Matson Consulting from Aiken will conduct the study. The firm comes with over 15 years of experience in the development of local food enterprises and is a trusted expert on food hub and community development.

The feasibility study will conclude mid-2022 and implementation will take place later in the yea

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