By Bob Katzen
Gov. Charlie Baker announced $5.9 million in grants to address urgent food insecurity for residents across the state affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 47 grants are aimed at funding critical investments in technology, equipment, capacity, and other assistance to help local food producers.
Eligible grantees include entities that are part of the Massachusetts local food system including production, processing and distribution, the emergency food distribution network, Buy Local, community and food organizations, school meal programming, urban farms and community gardens, non-profits and organizations that provide business planning, technical assistance and information technology services.
“As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to build on our efforts to secure a resilient, diverse local food supply chain so Massachusetts residents maintain access to fresh, healthy food,” said Gov. Baker. “With this fourth round of grants, we will have awarded a total of $17.7 million, making critical investments in our local food infrastructure and ensuring a secure supply of food as residents across the commonwealth adjust to the impacts of this unprecedented public health challenge.”
“Food insecurity remains a significant challenge for families throughout the commonwealth during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These projects address critical gaps within Massachusetts’ local food system, and this significant investment will help our local farmers, fishermen, food banks and distribution networks continue their essential work producing a steady supply of healthy, nutritious food to communities and underserved neighborhoods.”
“Compared to 2019, Cape & Island families are experiencing a 70 percent spike in food insecurity compared to last year. Our aquaculturists, fishermen, farmers and food pantry workers have banded together to meet this harrowing moment,” said Sen. Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “I’m grateful for the support they are receiving from the commonwealth to continue ensuring that every family on Cape Cod and the Islands knows where their next meal comes from.”