HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Five agricultural groups through the Massachusetts Food Ventures Program have been awarded $920,700 by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Two of those groups are in western Massachusetts.
The MFVP is a new grant program intended to address food access and expansion of economic opportunities.
The two western Massachusetts groups that received that award are:
- Franklin County Community Development Corporation – Greenfield – $250,000
- Nuestras Raices – Holyoke – $174,000
Franklin Country Community Development Corporation will use their award to expand capacity at their food processing center and create infrastructure by constructing a cold storage unit and purchasing additional equipment needed to increase opportunities for food businesses to start and grow.
Nuestras Raices will use their award for the construction and launch of a handicapped-accessible Mobile Market with refrigeration and freezer, a food transport truck and a commercial wash station.
The community van will be visiting different Holyoke neighborhoods, giving residents the opportunity to buy fresh, organic produce.
Neftali Duran, who is in charge of the new mobile food delivery program told 22News that it’s desperately needed. “Under-serving is not only a problem in holyoke,” Duran explained. “It’s a problem nationwide. One out of six families in 2015 reported not having enough money to buy food at some point during the year.”
Nuestras Raices has been around for nearly 25 years to help feed Holyoke. They have farms, community gardens, and a greenhouse, which all provide fresh produce for local residents. They told 22News that they intend to have its new food delivery service up and running by next spring.