Grants To Aid Rhode Island Agriculture, Aquaculture Projects

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Several small agriculture and aquaculture businesses in Rhode Island are sharing in more than $250,000 in grant awards aimed at spurring growth.

The grants are funded by the state through the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act, which directly benefits and strengthens the local food system by helping new and existing small businesses and food initiatives prosper.

“The COVID pandemic has exposed that one of our weaknesses is food insecurity — too many Rhode Islanders lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. The LASA grants will invest in our state’s vibrant food economy and build capacity to feed more people,” Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos said in a statement this week.

The recipients include the African Alliance of Rhode Island in Providence, which is getting more than $15,000 to help establish two permanent sites for weekly farmers’ markets and provide markets at three rotating locations; and the Sakonnet River Oyster Company in Bristol, which is getting $10,000 to buy a device that sorts oysters by size and efficiently prunes their edges to prduce a higher yield of marketable oysters.

In seven years, the program has provided more than $1.4 million.