Buy Fresh Buy Local Gets Grant Funding from Department of Agricultural Resources

BARNSTABLE – The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) has awarded $68,500 in grant funding to the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension’s Buy Fresh Buy Local (BFBLCC) program.

The grant money will be used to generate consumer awareness and demand for locally grown food products while improving logistical access to locally grown food sources.

The funding will also help expand marketing of Cape Cod’s locally grown and harvested products to local and regional consumers on a year-round basis by using a variety of advertising products and events. The marketing campaign is also expected to promote the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP).

“With the opportunity with these more funds we want to continue our successful marketing campaign with advertising our farms and farmers, but we also want to recognize how powerful local food is to Cape Cod. Our food nourishes, it provides jobs and contributes to a healthy community, so we wanted to create programs that enhance the diverse way in which local food benefits us.” Said Program Coordinator Rebecca Westgate.

“The positive impacts are three-fold: consumers will have more awareness and increased access to fresh food, our farmers gain new customers and make more money, and more food dollars stay in the local economy.”

The success of the marketing and educational programs is rooted in partnerships with local networks and organizations.

“Up until this year we’ve received about $10,000 to $15,000 in grant funds from the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture. With the momentum of local food and local farms and people really wanting to find out where food comes from, the Mass Department of Agriculture gave us the opportunity to apply for more funds,” Westgate added.

“This year we submitted a very comprehensive proposal and were awarded with approximately $68,000, which is about quadrupal of what we received in the pastm, so we’re really proud about that.”

The funding will support the Cape Cod local seafood industry with a branded campaign in collaboration with the Cape Cod Fisherman’s Alliance.

A free workshop series and the production of a short cooking video highlighting affordable meals sourced from local producers will be part of the program. Resources will be used and distributed through social service agencies and local food pantries.

The Winter Shop Local Collaboration, a partnership with LoveLiveLocal, to promote locally produced goods and foster networking through community events and advertising during Cape Cod’s off-season will be supported by the grant money.

Lastly, the grant will also fund an aquaculture product show with the Southeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center (SEMAC), American Culinary Federation of Cape Cod (ACF CC) and UMass in hosting an April to introduce shellfish to the local restaurant and food service establishments.

“The main goal of Buy Fresh Buy Local Cape Cod is to connect the public with locally grown food and their local farmer. We’ve been with the County for ten years and the backbone of the program has always been and will continue to be marketing pieces that advertise our local farms,” said Westgate.

By TIM DUNN, News Center

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