Gov. McKee, DEM. Legislators Announce Close to $700K in Grants Available to Support the Growth, Development, and Marketing of Local Food and Seafood in Rhode Island

Published on Monday, October 02, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), and members of the Rhode Island General Assembly announce that close to $700,000 in Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) grant funding is available for projects that help support the growth, development, and marketing of local food and seafood in Rhode Island. The LASA Grant Program provides grants that directly benefit and strengthen the local food system in Rhode Island. Since its enactment 11 years ago, LASA has provided more than $2 million through individual program grants up to $20,000. The grant application period opened on Oct. 1 and will close Nov. 30.

“LASA is a pillar of our food strategy through which Rhode Island is investing to provide consistent access to safe, healthy, affordable food – and to give a foothold to small businesses in the green economy,” said Governor McKee. “Since 2012, LASA has provided more than $2 million to assist dozens of small businesses across the state. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to ensure the continued historic funding of this worthy program.”

“The Local Agriculture and Seafood Act has always been about being firmly committed to our constituents and sending the message that we are 100 percent behind local businesses,” said Senator V. Susan Sosnowski, who authored the law in 2012. “Local food gets from farm to table in fresher condition and means fewer trucks on the road, which means less air pollution. LASA encourages more people to eat more local food. This means better health for Rhode Islanders and our environment.”

“Food security means that all people, always, have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food,” said Representative Teresa Tanzi. “Of its many benefits, maybe the biggest is that the LASA program strengthens food security and builds our communities. My district includes farms, food businesses, shellfishing, and the Port of Galilee, where most of Rhode Island’s commercial fishing fleet operates, so I’ve seen firsthand how LASA grants catalyze growth and I look forward to the success stories that future grantees will bring into being.”

“DEM is always working to get more home-grown food on the table and by supporting local farmers and fishers in growing their businesses, the LASA grants help achieve this,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “Growing local and eating local, fresh, sustainable food minimizes transportation costs, reduces carbon emissions, and boosts the local economy while providing the freshest product possible to the consumer.”

The 2024 grant funding priorities include:

  • Supporting the entry, growth, and/or sustainability of socially disadvantagedbeginningsmall, women, and veteran agriculture and aquaculture producers and fishers.
  • Supporting climate-smart agriculture mitigation activities and climate change related adaptations throughout the local food system.   
  • Supporting the development of new marketing, promotion, sales, and/or distribution channels, including connecting local farms and fishers with Rhode Island’s food insecure communities.
  • Supporting the development of new products, including value added processing capacity.
  • Fostering new cooperatives, partnerships, and/or collaborations among Rhode Island agriculture and aquaculture producers, and fishers and supporting organizations.
  • Protecting the future availability of agricultural land for producers, including farm transition planning and implementation.
  • Assisting with on farm food safety improvements including Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control (HACCP) Compliance

DEM anticipates that approximately $650,000 will be awarded under this grant round, with no direct match required. During the most recent funding cycles, DEM awarded $700,00 in LASA grants to forty-one Rhode Island-based food businesses to support the local food system. Eligible entities include for-profit farmers, fishers, producer groups, and non-profit organizations. Applicants must be based in Rhode Island, and only small and/or beginning farmers, or producer groups of small or beginning farmers are eligible to apply for capital grants. Aquaculture operators are considered farmers in the LASA program. For more information on the LASA Grant program, please visit DEM’s website. Applications should be completed online via the State of Rhode Island Grant’s Management System by November 30, 2023, at 11:59 pm. Grant-related questions should be directed to Ananda Fraser, Chief Program Development in DEM’s Division of Agriculture and Forestry, at 401-222-2781 ext. 2772411 or via email to

DEM continues to work across many fronts to benefit and strengthen Rhode Island’s green economy and to assist local farmers and fishers in growing their businesses. There are more than 1,000 farms sprinkled across the state and Rhode Island is home to a thriving young farmer network. DEM continues to make investments in critical infrastructure as well as provide farm incubation space to new farmers through its Urban Edge Farm and Snake Den Farm properties. The state’s food scene is often cited as an area of economic strength ripe for innovation and growth. Already, the local food industry supports 60,000 jobs, and the state’s green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy annually.

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