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Politics & Government

Delaware is using federal funds to make sure food grown in First State gets to communities

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Delaware Public Media
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Delaware is using two million dollars in seed funding to stabilize and strengthen local farms and food supply chain operations in the state.

Gov. John Carney, the Delaware Department of Agriculture, and the Delaware Council on Farm and Food Policy recently announced the investment to establish the First State Integrated Food System Program.

It will be developed by the Delaware Council on Farm and Food Policy, and using funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to help small and mid-sized farmers and local food supply chain operations who were hit hard during the pandemic.

The council’s goal is a food system where local farmers can access viable markets and residents have the resources to circumvent challenges to securing nutritious food locally. It also seeks to diminish vulnerabilities in that system

"There was food being produced. There was food in the fields, but when it came to getting it to the end user, there was some stopgaps,” said Nikko Brady, Deputy Principal Assistant with the state Dept. of Agriculture. “So being able to strengthen and help stabilize through this seed money through this funding some of our sectors along the food supply chain is really what we're trying to do."

Brady said the program will focus on three main food supply chain channels - production, processing and distribution, and retail and consumer outlets.

"Make sure our small scale and mid-scale farmers continue to have market outlets and then to make sure that there are avenues within the system including your processing, your storage, your distribution, and your transporting that are in place to be able to ultimately get food to people right in their communities," said Brady.

The 2 million dollars in federal funds earmarked for this program will be dispersed by December 2024.