Governor Lamont Highlights Nearly $5 Million Investment in Statewide Feeding Program Partnerships Providing Connecticut Grown Food to Residents
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt today held a news conference during the annual Connecticut Ag Day event at the State Capitol in Hartford, where they announced that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, nearly $5 million in funds has been distributed in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to support emergency feeding programs, address food insecurity through the procurement of Connecticut Grown foods, and support programming that enables residents of all ages to have equitable access to locally grown foods. They were joined by partner members, Connecticut farmers, and state legislators.
“Expanding access to nutritious, locally grown food has been a priority for our administration throughout the pandemic because it is essential that we do everything we can to combat hunger and food insecurity,” Governor Lamont said. “By utilizing emergency recovery funding from the federal government, we’ve been able to partner with local organizations to support Connecticut residents who need help with their food budgets. Additionally, supporting locally grown products means supporting Connecticut jobs. I strongly encourage everyone to support our state’s many farms by purchasing Connecticut Grown products.”
“Connecticut has been actively engaged in emergency feeding programs over the past few years with a strong focus on the inclusion of Connecticut Grown products,” Commissioner Hurlburt said. “These programs are integral to ensuring that locally grown food from the fields of Connecticut farmers is served on the tables of our underserved neighbors. Program funding has impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of residents while strengthening our local food system to ensure agriculture remains a sustainable, vibrant industry.”
More than $2.2 million in funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act has been distributed to organizations committed to helping Connecticut families obtain access to Connecticut Grown food through established programs such as the Farmers Market Nutrition Program for WIC and senior participants, SNAP, and Full Shelves from EndHungerCT!. Funds were also used to launch the Connecticut Grown 4 Connecticut Kids Grant program, increasing the availability of local foods in child nutrition programs, implement hands-on techniques for nutrition and farm-to-school connections, sustain relationships with local farmers, and improve the health of children in the state.
An additional $2.7 million in funds through the USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA) was disbursed to eight entities. Among these is Connecticut Foodshare for the purchase of Connecticut Grown food directly from Connecticut farmers, including small and socially underserved producers, to promote fresh, local farm product distribution. Jason Jakubowski, president and CEO of Connecticut Foodshare, used the funding to purchase Connecticut Grown food products directly from more than 70 Connecticut farmers, including 140,000 pounds of produce from Fair Weather Growers in Rocky Hill, since the start of the program in early 2022.
“The expanded partnerships between Connecticut Foodshare and our Connecticut farmers has been transformational for our work, and the state Department of Agriculture has been instrumental in helping to secure the funding and support to meet the growing needs of our neighbors,” Jakubowski said.
Efforts to continue supporting equitable access to locally grown foods continue to be bolstered through an additional $3.5 million in funding through LFPA and a more user-friendly Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program scheduled to roll out in July 2023 just in time for the summer farmers’ market season.
“As a representative and nutrition expert, the updated Farmers Market Nutrition Program coming this summer is welcome news,” State Representative Jaime Foster (D-Ellington) said. “We look forward to the roll out. This program is good for farmers, food security, and the health of Connecticut families participating in the program.”
For more information on Connecticut Grown products, visit ctgrown.org.
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