Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Receives over $450K through USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance Grant
Funding will promote economic opportunities for farmers and fishermen and increase access to locally sourced food in underserved communities.
January 6, 2023 (Barnstable, MA) – Cape Cod Cooperative Extension’s Food Access Program has been awarded $450,530 through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). This funding was part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) cooperative agreement with Massachusetts under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperate Agreement Program (LFPA). Funding will increase access to fresh, healthy, and locally sourced food for Cape Cod’s underserved populations and will create economic opportunities for socially disadvantaged farmers and local food producers.
“With this funding, Barnstable County will continue to lay the groundwork for a thriving, sustainable local food system,” said Andrea Marczely, Extension’s Food Access Coordinator.
Tara Racine, Program Coordinator for Extension’s local food program Buy Fresh Buy Local Cape Cod added, “We are laser-focused on growing and supporting the Cape’s local farmers and food industry and ensure that they have the resources they need to put food on the table for the people Cape Cod.”
Funding will advance Extension’s work in getting fresh produce from the region’s farms and food producers into underserved communities through an existing network of local social service agencies and volunteers. Fresh produce will be purchased from farmers with an emphasis on socially disadvantaged growers in collaboration with Cape Abilities Farm, a non-profit organization that provides support for intellectually and physically disabled individuals and promotes socially disadvantaged growers. Marczely said, “Thanks to the LFPA funding, Extension’s food access projects will tackle food insecurity by providing fresh, healthy food bought from local farmers to those going hungry. This plan helps consumers cope with food insecurity and supports our farmers.”
Funding will provide financial support to Cape Cod’s Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Haitian and Jamaican communities through the expansion of existing culturally informed gardens to increase access to fresh produce to address food insecurity among the diverse populations on the Cape. Partnerships have been established with Canaan Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Health Ministry USA, Cape Verdean Museum and Cultural Center, and Farming Falmouth to support the growing, harvesting, and distribution of the garden crops.
The LFPA award also highlight’s the importance of utilizing Cape Cod’s fishermen and local seafood in bridging the gap between local food and food insecurity. The Cape Cod Cooperative Extension will use funds to purchase locally caught and processed haddock chowder and fish stew from Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance and distribute the foods to socially underserved communities. Marczely said, “Overall, the LFPA funds will improve the Cape’s local land and seafood supply resiliency and increase local food consumption around the region.”
ABOUT CAPE COD COOPERATIVE EXTENSION Cape Cod Cooperative Extension is the education department for Barnstable County. Educational programs focus on agriculture, marine resources, horticulture, aquaculture, natural resources, water quality, recycling, household hazardous waste, nutrition, food safety, youth development, and environmental education issues facing the county. Extension programs are conducted in Barnstable County in cooperation with the staff at the University of Massachusetts, and The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution–Sea Grant program. www.capecodextension.org
ABOUT BARNSTABLE COUNTY REGIONAL GOVERNMENT OF CAPE COD Barnstable County provides exemplary government functions and services to keep our community healthy and safe, promote sustainable growth, and offer a proactive, open government that enhances the quality of life for the citizens of Barnstable County. Learn more at www.capecod.gov.