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CT DoAg Funds 21 Agricultural Enhancement Grant Projects

Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) Awards Funds to 21 Agricultural Enhancement Grant Projects Totaling $531,165

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the 2024 Agricultural Enhancement Grant Program (previously known as the Farm Viability Grant) has awarded more than $531,000 to fund 21 projects received from Connecticut municipalities, groups of municipalities, regional councils of governments, and/or agricultural non-profit organizations for projects that directly impact or foster agricultural viability.


“One-quarter of our awarded projects this year were brand new applicants, demonstrating that the revisions to this program are reaching a more diverse audience and increasing agriculture viability in our state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “The awarded projects align with agency priorities to diversify who is growing food, where it is being grown, and how it is being grown. From new and expanded youth agriculture curriculums to promotion of farmers’ markets and increasing food and land access these projects will support a diversified ecosystem of agriculture in Connecticut in the years ahead.”

Eligible entities could apply to one of six questions of focus, as well as two microgrant categories.

CT DoAg received 33 grant applications requesting funds totaling $775,620. Of the awarded projects, $169,868 was directed towards seven Youth Agricultural Education projects, $148,399 to three Food Supply Chain awards, $94,799 to three Urban Agriculture awards, $90,649 to two Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion projects, $23,450 to five farmers’ market promotion efforts, and $5,000 to one applicant identified project.


The fiscal year 2024 Agricultural Enhancement Grant awardees by category are:


Enhancing Youth Agricultural Education

  • AuerfarmBloomfield – Auerfarm Discovery Barn: Professionally designed, interactive educational components (displays) and improved infrastructure to provide an educational space. Infrastructure improvements will be made to the barn so that it will be better utilized for education. The improvements provide the ability to house farm animals in an accessible manner while meeting animal welfare and youth safety, $49,999
  • Benincasa CommunityGuilford – Constructing two moveable high tunnels to create year-round classroom and growing space, retrofitting an existing goat shelter, and installing fencing to extend pasture for rotational grazing and increase animal integration in programming, $16,020
  • CT Junior RepublicLitchfield - Replace an existing structurally unsound pole barn with a new pole barn with the space and flexibility to support CJR's agricultural curriculum and programs including animal training and instruction, animal birthing, cattle embryo harvest and transfer, and livestock showing, $49,999
  • Hartford County 4H FairHartford – Use the Fair as an arena to educate/promote agriculture education including agricultural careers in Connecticut to 4-H youth and youth in the general public utilizing subject matter experts, guest speakers from the community, hands-on skill agricultural education development and good-natured competition by 4-H exhibitors, $36,900
  • Lebanon LionsLebanon – Purchasing metal pens to house increased number and variety of livestock housed/shown by youth on the grounds of the Lebanon Country Fair, $8,800
  • Monroe Farmers MarketMonroe – Enhance the Market Minis (engage and educate youngest shoppers under the age of 12) and Tasting Tent (introduce customers to the products our farmers/vendors had, through complimentary tastings) programming. Create a paid position to oversee and run the programming, $4,150
  • Town of WethersfieldWethersfield – Create hands-on youth ag education program for grades K-2 to teach plant science basics utilizing the Kycia Farm as an outdoor classroom, $4,000


Farmers’ Market Promotion


  • City Center Danbury EventsDanbury – Establish text reminder system for market vendors and participants, Tribuna and Patch advertising to promote the market, $5,000
  • Ellington Farmers MarketEllington – Design and create physical signage, conduct social and digital marketing, hire subcontractor to film markets for creation of media content for marketing, $5,000
  • Meriden Farmers MarketMeriden – Hire marketing subcontractor to revamp the market website, create digital community calendars, produce in-person signage, and flyers to educate on matching benefits from SNAP, $5,000
  • Nourish Bridgeport, on behalf of Bridgeport Farmers Market Collaborative, Bridgeport – Creation and distribution of a newsletter; creation and translation of print materials into multiple languages, design/ad on billboard for 2024 season, $5,000
  • Town of SouthburySouthbury – Promotion of the farmers market through print and media advertisements, $3,450


Applicant Identified


  • CT Land Conservation CouncilMiddletown – Hiring Dr. Ivette Ruiz of Healing by Growing Farms to consult with land trusts to bolster inclusive land conservation and land-use practices that promote social well-being and environmental sustainability, $5,000


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


  • CT Resource Conservation & Development, Haddam – Contract with the Farmer Veteran Coalition to conduct one-on-one consultations with prospective CT Veterans interested in ag, consultations to current farmer Veterans looking to expand operations or enhance offerings. Stipends to assist 20 Veterans move forward with registering a farm business and obtaining a Farm Tax Exemption permit. Coordinate and provide one-on-one ag grant writing assistance (peer-to-peer), $49,999
  • Gather New HavenNew Haven – Partner with the Liberated Land Coop to pilot this program through which we hope to generate an active and productive community of BIPOC farmers in Greater New Haven. Gather will turn our largest urban farm plot – the Ferry St. site – into an experiential learning lab for BIPOC aspiring farmers living in Greater New Haven. Farming on Gather land, Coop members will help train new farmers who are New Haven-based; run an affordable CSA program geared to serve local low-income households; and support Gather’s Farm-based Wellness Program by contributing produce to participants weekly shares, $40,650


Food Supply Chain


  • City SeedNew Haven – Purchasing equipment to outfit the small-scale distribution hub and shared-use commercial kitchen such as a walk-in cooler, 12-gallon steam kettle, sterilizer, and commercial dehydrator, $48,800
  • CLiCKWillimantic – Increase current staff (processors) to continue to support local procurement, aggregation, and distribution expansion.  Provide critical technical assistance on food safety.  Increase market opportunities for farmers through the Local Food Marketplace (LFM), fostering wider access and promoting long-term sustainability. Equipment including a Uline printer, stainless steel tables, installation of three-bay sink, $49,600.
  • Real Food CTNewtown – Purchase foundational infrastructure to establish a comprehensive food hub including a refrigerated shipping container, cooler truck, fencing, well/water hookups for wash station, food hub software, and produce safety training, $49,999


Urban Agriculture


  • City of MilfordMilford – Infrastructure improvement to a community garden including tree work, fencing upgrades, and funds to hire a master gardener to assist community members with their plots, $5,000
  • Emerge CTNew Haven – Providing 12 weeks of programming to previously incarcerated individuals. Programming includes a 6-week Restorative Food Justice series and 6-week Food and Farm Entrepreneurship and Leadership for Youth. The 12-weeks of programming will run twice during grant period, $39,800
  • New Haven Ecology ProjectNew Haven – Replace an existing propagation house with a new structure equipped with temperature control, larger footprint, and security from pests/rodents to enhance student hands-on programming at Common Ground High School, $49,999


The Agricultural Enhancement Grant is a matching grant program for Connecticut municipalities, groups of municipalities, regional councils of governments and agricultural non-profit organizations for projects that directly impact and/or foster agricultural viability. Funding for the Agricultural Enhancement 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. More information about the program can be found at


The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT DoAg) 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


Rebecca Eddy,