Governor Glenn Youngkin kicked off Virginia Ag Week by announcing that 11 Virginia cities and counties will receive $214,000 in state funds to support new investments into the infrastructure supporting their local food and farming systems.
These competitively-awarded, matching grant awards from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industry Development (AFID) Fund Infrastructure Grant Program support strategic investments into missing infrastructure that is impeding small-scale farmers and food producers from growing their operations.
Five of the grants are in Southwest and Southside:
Commercial Kitchen Expansion, Bedford County: $9,000
Bedford County is requesting funding to expand the commercial kitchen facility located at Bramble Hollow Farm, a member of a small, sustainable food-focused farming collective known as Edible Goose Creek. Few commercial kitchen facilities exist in the area, so this facility is serving a local community need for producing value-added products. The funding request is for the purchase of a commercial tilt kettle for producing Bramble Hollow Farm’s popular chicken stock and other members’ products.
Grain Milling Upgrades, Franklin County: $10,000
Franklin County is requesting funding to support Green Sprig Ag (GSA), a grain milling operation run by a 5th generation farmer and a member of the Common Grain Alliance, a mid-Atlantic network of grain farmers. GSA produces both feed and food grade grains and needs to make facility upgrades to more efficiently process grains entering the food system. Funds will be used to renovate an existing building to meet food grade standards for the purpose of cleaning, storing, and processing grain for members of the Common Grain Alliance.
Sheep Wool Baler, Grayson County: $20,000
Grayson County is partnering with the New River Valley Sheep & Goat Club to purchase a baler in support of regional sheep wool production. The discrepancy in the value of baled wool versus non-baled wool is extreme, and the purchase of the baler will allow producers to sell directly to the end buyer and see as much as a 400% increase in profit. This project is also receiving grant funding from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.
Grain Milling Upgrades, Nelson County: $22,500
Nelson County has requested funding to help Deep Roots Milling (DRM), a founding member of the Common Grain Alliance and a leader in regional grain processing, grow both retail and wholesale sales. DRM operates at Woodson’s Mill, c. 1794, the only water-powered mill still in operation in Virginia. Funding will be used to upgrade the mill’s third floor to create a sifting room and to purchase new bagging equipment.
Farmers Market Construction, Scott County: $25,000
Scott County seeks funding to construct a farmers market within the town of Nickelsville. Currently, Nickelsville residents must travel a minimum of 20 miles to access the nearest grocery store or farmers market, a burden both for consumers and farmers. Funds will be used to design and construct the facility in Nickelsville.