News Bites: 2014 Local Agriculture and Seafood Act Grant Recipients Announced, Cox Local Video: Eat Drink RI Market, Walrus and Carpenter Oysters 2014 Summer Farm Dinner Series

Dinner table on a sandbar 2

Dinner table on a sandbar 2

Current news releases—Eat Drink RI is not the source for these items—please follow any links for more information.

2014 Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) Grant Recipients Announced

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management announces the 2014 recipients for the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) Grants Program.  A total of $210,030 will be awarded to 17 recipients, including $20,000 to be used by DEM and the RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative for a statewide local seafood promotion campaign.  The LASA Grants Program Advisory Committee, established to advise and assist the DEM in matters related to the LASA Grants Program, received, reviewed and scored 92 applications for this first year, totaling $1,474,822 in requested funds.

A list of the LASA Grants Program recipients, along with a brief description of each project is available at the end of this release.

“Rhode Islanders are eager to grow, eat and promote local food. The Local Agriculture and Seafood Grants program is focused on supporting the growth of our local food sector to meet the growing demand of consumers,” said DEM Director Janet Coit, who will recognize the winners at the annual Rhode Island Agriculture Day program at the State House on May 1.  The event will take place at 2 p.m. in the Governor’s State Room.

“The LASA grant program is an important step forward in Rhode Island toward building a vibrant local food economy in relation to farming and fishing.  It involves a unique and forward-thinking partnership between DEM, the RI Food Policy Council and other important non-profits who are committed to building a local, sustainable food system in Rhode Island,” said Ken Ayars, chief of the Division of Agriculture who served as chair of the LASA Grants Advisory Committee.

The Local Agriculture and Seafood Act of 2012 established a grants program within Rhode Island’s DEM Division of Agriculture to support the growth and marketing of local food and seafood in the state.  The LASA Grants Program was made possible by a unique and unprecedented public-private partnership with $100,000 in funding from the State of Rhode Island and $210,000 in funds from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation.  DEM coordinated with the Rhode Island Food Policy Council (RIFPC) to administer the LASA Grants Program.

2014 LASA Grants Program Awardees:

$20,000 for the DEM and RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative’s statewide seafood branding and marketing campaign

$8,089 to Adam Yorks of Little Compton to install a root zone heating system into a high tunnel to extend the growing season of his farm

$17,000 to Big Train Farm/Urban Edge Producer Collaborative in Cranston to make improvements to the wash-station and increase efficiencies at the 7 small farms in the collaborative

$16,000 to Brown Family Seafood in West Kingston to change their distribution process to increase marketing, traceability and understanding for RI consumers about local seafood

$10,000 to Garden Time to start an herb garden and gardening/healthy eating educational program at the Adult Correctional Institute’s medium security facility inCranston

$5,000 to Jamestown Oyster Company for materials used to increase oyster harvest

$9,975 to Katie Miller/Ben Torpey of Scratch Farm in Cranston to expand production and marketing capacity of Small State Seeds, a seed breeding project for chemical-free, RI-grown vegetable, herb and flower seeds

$9,693 to Little City Growers Cooperative in Providence to expand sales, develop a unique brand and implement new marketing strategies and resources

$13,648 to Newport Harbor Corporation in Newport to promote increased consumption of top neck clams, a locally harvested and under-utilized sea clam

$13,480 to Red Planet Vegetable Farm in Johnston for farm improvements that will increase crop production and reduce labor costs while incorporating green energy into farm operations

$10,000 to RI Mushroom Company in West Kingston for a second mushroom grow house to cultivate specialty mushrooms

$7925 to RI Shellfisherman’s Association to produce three PSAs highlighting commercial shellfishing and local shellfish available to RI consumers

$11,000 to Sidewalk Ends Farm in Providence for farm equipment and cold storage system infrastructure to grow their business

$16,400 to Snake Den Farm in Johnston for equipment to support the creation of a farmer/producer coop/community farm

$7,500 to the Local Catch in Charlestown to increase the presence of RI seafood at RI farmers markets, increase Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs), improve brand awareness of RI-landed seafood and launch a web-based distribution channel

$14,450 to Urban Greens Food Co-op in Providence to utilize professional design services for the layout of an urban retail grocer with a focus on equal access, sustainably-sourced and local food

$19,840 for the Young Farmer Network to expand Young Farmer Nights programming, develop a Short Courses curriculum and to enhance outreach efforts


Cox Local Video: Eat Drink RI Market


Walrus and Carpenter Oysters Announces Second Summer Farm Dinner Series with Five Renowned Rhode Island Chefs

This summer Walrus and Carpenter Oysters is pairing up with New Rivers, Nick’s on Broadway, north, birch, and Ella’s to create an unprecedented farm dinner experience with chefs committed to sourcing in-state seafood. A combination of ecological tour, gourmet meal, wine from the experts at Bottles, and local farming immersion, these dinners are no ordinary dining out experience!

The evening begins with a boat tour of the 3-acre offshore oyster farm, with discussion and time for questions about the local ecosystem and significant environmental benefits of oyster farming. Afterwards, an in-the-water raw bar will feature an opportunity to enjoy on-the-spot harvested oysters. Following the raw bar, we’ll take a walk on stunning East Beach, followed by a seated multi-course white tablecloth dinner. Each chef has designed an original meal, and select chefs will join us for the entire night. Bottles will be pairing and pouring wine for each course. We’ll return again to the marina by boat around 7pm. Tickets are $150.00 for the entire experience, including food and drink, and only thirty will be sold for each night.

In addition, a portion of proceeds from each ticket sold benefits Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) and their “Lots of Hope” program. SCLT provides access to land, education, and other resources so people in Greater Providence can grow food in environmentally sustainable ways and create community food systems where locally produced, affordable, and healthy food is available to all.

Dinner Dates:

July 13 – Chef Jeanie Roland of Ella’s
August 9 – Southside Community Land Trust Oyster Bash
August 10 – Chef Derek Wagner of Nick’s on Broadway
August 12 – Chef Ben Sukle of birch
August 16 – Chef James Mark of north
August 17 – Chef Beau Vestal of New Rivers

Tickets can be purchased online at walrusandcarpenteroysters.com. Tickets go on sale May 1st, 2014.

View photos from Eat Drink RI’s 2013 dinner experience at Walrus and Carpenter Oysters with Chef Derek Wagner of Nick’s on Broadway

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