WSDA awards $1.5 million in grants to support local food systems


The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has announced $1.5 million in grants to support local food systems, funding that includes several organizations in Lewis, Thurston and Grays Harbor counties.

On Tuesday, the WSDA announced it awarded the Local Food System Infrastructure Grants to 40 projects scattered throughout the state. According to WSDA, the department received 337 applications for the funding, with total requests nearing $19 million.

“We continue to be inspired by how these grant projects are developing the capacity of our regional food economy,” Laura Raymond, manager of the WSDA Regional Markets Program, said in a statement. “We really wish we could fund many more of these worthwhile activities; each proposal represented an opportunity to build a more vibrant and resilient local food system.”

According to the WSDA, the grant amounts range from $7,000 to $75,000 and will fund equipment, facility improvements, supply chain and market access coordination, food safety improvements, workforce development, and related operating costs.

2 Rivers Cattle Company, based out of Grays Harbor County, received nearly $44,000 to expand its meat storage capacity and to serve as an “aggregation point for Southwest Washington Food Hub.” The Grays Harbor Conservation District in Grays Harbor County received a little more than $41,000 to ensure the Aberdeen Sunday Market can operate.

In Thurston County, Untraditional Fruits received over $11,000 to purchase a produce washing station and an on-farm walk-in cooler.

And in Lewis County, Sunrise Creamery received $36,000 to purchase the equipment needed to expand output.

“Small farms, ranches, and food business entrepreneurs play an important role in maintaining Washington’s vibrant regional food economy,” WSDA Director Derek Sandison said in a statement. “The high level of interest in WSDA programs demonstrates the clear need for continued business support, including technical assistance, publications, market access development and grant awards.”