New London farms get a federal boost

(Photo: WTNH)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTNH) — As part a nationwide effort to reinvigorate the local farming industry, Congressman Joseph D. Courtney (D-CT 2nd District) announced a grant of over $99,000 to be awarded to New London’s Ledge Light Health District, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP).

On September 22, 2015, Congressman Courtney and the Senior Program Coordinator for Ledge Light Health District, Cindy Barry, visited Fitch High School to observe the district’s Farm-to-School program in action. Connecticut farmers are linked to school lunch programs, providing students with locally-grown produce. Congressman Courtney elaborates on the grant that will advance programs like this.

“Eastern Connecticut is lucky to have many farms and producers right here in our own backyards.  The increasing consumer focus on locally-grown food, coupled with this grant that will help Ledge Light Health District promote their farmers’ market to the surrounding communities, will be a benefit to our farms and a boost to healthy eating habits.”

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service awarded $13.3 million in FMPP grants today. Including the Ledge Light Health District, the FMPP will impact 164 programs that work to promote farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and other local farming outlets. Cindy Barry describes this crucial boost.

“Ledge Light Health District is please to have been chosen for the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program Grant, which will support a number of projects in new London County designed to strengthen farmers markets. We will work with market managers and community leaders to promote existing markets and create new market opportunities, improve access to fresh nutritious and locally grown produce and other foods, and support local farmers and their ability to participate in thriving and profitable community markets.”

In the past six years, the FMPP has funded over 900 projects and directed almost $60 million into the promotion of the local farming industry. The Norwich and the Willimantic Farmers Markets are just two other recipients of FMPP grants.

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