Fayette County Community Action Agency, Inc.
For Immediate Release: July 10, 2017
Contact: Keeley Forrestel, Planner
LOCAL ORGANIZATION RECIEVES 1.75 MILLION TO EXPAND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND CREATE JOBS IN REGION
Fayette County Community Action Agency will host the Southwestern Pennsylvania Local Food Shed Inaugural Event on Tuesday, July 18th at 12:30pm at the Republic Food Enterprise Center in Republic, PA to kick off the implementation of a major project designed to increase food production and increase jobs across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland.
Speakers at the event will include the PA Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and local, state, and federal elected officials.
A major ARC grant was awarded to Fayette County Community Action Agency in Uniontown, PA for the Southwestern PA Development of a local Food Shed Project. The award was announced earlier this month. The Project will develop a robust local food shed that provides new and diverse economic opportunities to communities in 38 counties impacted by the decline of the coal industry across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland. Over the three years of the grant, seven partners involved in the implementation of the grant are expected to serve 50 existing businesses, create 10 new businesses and add 100 jobs.
“This project is designed to expand the production of agriculture throughout the region. We are excited about this project and the potential of creating sustainable and meaningful jobs in food production.” said James Stark, Executive Director of Fayette County Community Action Agency.
Fayette County Community Action Agency took the lead on the application and other partners include the Greene County Department of Economic Development, PA Department of Agriculture, Fayette County’s Redevelopment Authority, Bridgeway Capital, Fayette County Cultural Trust and the Penn State University Cooperative Extension.
The ARC’s grant is part of an overall $15.7 million investment for 18 projects to grow the economies in seven Appalachian states. ARC’s investment in this project will support the cultivation of four of Southwestern Pennsylvania existing agricultural clusters: sheep, lamb, and goats; poultry; specialty crops; and value added processing.
“In Southwestern Pennsylvania, we recognize that we are buying a lot of food from outside the area,” said Robbie Matesic, Executive Director of the Greene County Department of Economic Development. “We’re going to work with our farmers and anyone else who wants to produce food, to ramp up food production.”
Republic Food Enterprise Center in Fayette County will be a major facilitator and contributor to the project through the use of its facilities and resources including its commercial kitchen, assistance with product and recipe development, marketing, distribution and financing.
For more information about the Local Food Shed Project or if you are interested in attending the inaugural event, please contact Bob Junk at 724.246.1536