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Connecticut Department of Agriculture Announces Farm Viability Grant Recipients

More than $750,000 Awarded to 25 Connecticut Municipalities and Agricultural Non-Profits to Foster, Sustain, Develop, and Promote Local Agriculture

(STATEWIDE) Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt announces that the Connecticut Department of Agriculture has awarded grants to 25 entities through the Farm Viability Grant totaling more than $750,000. Funded projects directly respond to problems, interests, or needs in the state’s agricultural industry, specifically within the areas of urban agriculture; food supply chain; diversity, equity, and inclusion in Connecticut agriculture; and farmland access. A new question of focus for infrastructure improvement at 4-H camps and agricultural science and technology education (ASTE) centers was also added this year, along with two Micro Grant categories for municipal farm maps and certified farmers’ market promotion and outreach.

“We are pleased to fund projects from 25 entities, more than double the number of projects last year, that will directly impact or foster agricultural viability,” said Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “The increased response from applicants validates the existing need to expand our funding areas and make project implementation easier. All of the changes made this year were in direct response to industry feedback as we continually seek to reinvigorate our programs in ways which ensure we are investing in projects that will make an immediate and long-lasting impact to maintain and improve agricultural opportunities at a grass-roots level.”

Applicants to the Questions of Focus could apply for up to $49,999; while the Micro Grant categories were eligible for up to $5,000 with a 40% cash match.

Eligible entities included Connecticut municipalities, groups of municipalities, regional councils of governments, and agricultural non-profit organizations. Applicants could apply for up to $49,999 in grant funds; with a 40% match for the total project costs through cash or in-kind services.

The fiscal year 2023 Farm Viability Grant awardees by Question of Focus include:

4-H Camp and Agricultural Science and Technology Education (ASTE) Center Infrastructure

  • *4-H Education Center at Auerfarm, Bloomfield: Purchasing equipment for a 40’ x 20’ practice ring to be utilized by Auerfarm’s 4-H club while receiving instruction, working with project animals, and developing hands-on skills.
  • Berlin Fair Agricultural Association, Berlin: Construction of a 60’x 250’x 14’ livestock barn and demonstration facility at the Berlin Fairgrounds.
  • Durham Fair Association, Durham: The Durham Fair Association will be conducting improvements to their fairground facilities for increased agricultural programming and opportunities for youth.
  • Guilford Agricultural Society, Guilford: Construction of a permanent facility on the Guilford Fairgrounds for increased ag programming.
  • Massaro Community Farm, Woodbridge: Improving educational infrastructure including creation of a 100’x 125’ livestock education area, livestock water access and hand-washing stations, materials and supplies for agricultural programming, and supporting the Summer Youth Employment program.
  • Yellow Farmhouse Education Center, Stonington: Purchasing a commercial refrigerator, chest freezer, and dehydrator to assist with educational programming on produce gleaning and processing techniques. Construction of a 12’x 24’ shed to house a vermicompost system for educational programming and job skills training of LEARN students.

Certified Farmers’ Market Promotion and Outreach

  • *CityCenter Danbury Events-Danbury Farmers Market Community Collaborative, Danbury: Increased advertising of the market via a trilingual publication, digital and print ads.
  • *City of Groton Farmers Market, Groton: Increasing advertisement of the Farmers Market to New London County and surrounding communities via social media and printed materials. Increasing outreach to community wellness programs and purchasing permanent signage for Washington Park.
  • *Ellington Farmers Market, Ellington: Increased outreach and marketing of the Farmers Market via print and online advertisements.
  • *Meriden Farmers Market, Meriden: Hiring a subcontractor to develop a marketing plan for the Meriden Farmers Market to increase market attendance and FMNP/SFMNP redemption.
  • *Town of Tolland, Tolland: Promotion of the new farmers market on the Town Green via social media, print advertising, promotional signs, and a banner.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

  • CitySeed, New Haven: Supporting a cohort of BIPOC farmers by administering project-based stipends and offering continued professional learning to foster growth and success in BIPOC farm businesses.
  • Town of Simsbury, Simsbury: Infrastructure repairs to four existing hoophouses, fencing, goat barn, and chicken coop to enable increased production and maximize farm output. Replacing the unit in the cold storage space and new wash area.

Farmland Accessibility

  • Western Connecticut Council of Governments, Sandy Hook: Conducting a study to identify and describe barriers and opportunities for growth of farming in the WestCOG service area and propose best practices to facilitate growth.

Food Supply Chain

  • Hartford Food System, Hartford: Conducting a survey for data collection and analysis that captures local food purchased and sold in one year. Data analyzed to highlight trends and inform food systems for economic development.
  • New London Community Meal Center, New London: Installation of a 10’ 5” x 5’ 5” walk-in cooler to expand the Center’s purchasing, storage, and distribution capacity for CT Grown products. Conducting a feasibility study on the Center’s options to expand their current processing kitchen or add a second kitchen.
  • *Town of Mansfield, Mansfield: Converting an existing 10’x10’ walk-in freezer from Goodwin Elementary School into a refrigerator and installing at the Human Services Department for use by the Mansfield Farms to Family Program.

Urban Agriculture

  • Dwight Hall at Yale and Healing by Growing Farms, East Haven: Purchase of irrigation and construction of equipment to establish a washing and processing space on the farm. Hiring a marketing consultant to create a business plan for the “Farm 2 Home” food stand delivery program for adults with disabilities.
  • EMERGE Connecticut, New Haven: Conducting 12 weeks of educational, technical, and financial programming to previously incarcerated individuals. Programming focuses on Restorative Food Justice and Food and Farm Entrepreneurship and will occur twice during the project.
  • Gather New Haven, New Haven: Moving a hoop house to the new State Street site, improving existing fencing to reduce crop loss, repairing and upgrading equipment in two existing greenhouses, and conversion of an existing hoop house into a greenhouse to increase urban farm production.
  • Green Village Initiative, Bridgeport: Repairing and replacing 75 raised beds to improve production and accessibility. Includes construction of a network of ADA accessible raised beds.
  • KNOX, Hartford: Construction of a compost system, purchasing supplies to increase food production, expanding the existing washing station, and expanding KNOX’s Farmers Market.
  • Levo International, Bloomfield: Constructing indoor hydroponics at the Hispanic Health Council’s Family Wellness Center, training hydroponics technicians, and recruiting urban farmers.
  • *New London County Farm and Home Bureau, Bozrah: Establishment of a grant program targeting school age students with interests in ag.
  • nOURish BRIDGEPORT, Bridgeport: Purchasing Dutch Bucket Systems and Fork Farm units to maximize production at the indoor urban farm facility.


*denotes Micro Grant recipient


Funding for the Farm Viability Grant is provided through the State of Connecticut Agricultural Viability Grant Program, established in 2005 through Public Act 05-228, An Act Concerning Farmland Preservation, Land Protection, Affordable Housing, and Historic Preservation.

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture mission is to foster a healthy economic, environmental, and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state's citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the state's economy. For more information, visit



For Immediate Release: Friday, June 23, 2023 Contact: Rebecca Eddy,