Virginia governor announces grant funding to support food access projects in Shenandoah Valley

Gov. Northam
Gov. Northam(NBC12)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 1:18 PM EDT
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SHENANDOAH VALLEY, Va. (WHSV) - Governor Ralph Northam announced grant funding which will support 15 food and agriculture access projects in Virginia.

The Virginia Food Access Investment Fund (VFAIF) grants will support new food retail businesses, grocery stores, innovative food retails projects and Virginia farmers with the goal of increasing availability of fresh and healthy foods.

“Hunger and food insecurity are a reality for too many Virginia families, and the pandemic has only underscored the urgency of this crisis,” said Northam. “At its core, the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund is about addressing the root causes of low food access and increasing equity and justice in our local food systems. I am pleased to see the innovation and dedication of businesses and organizations who are helping to advance our shared goals of building strong, resilient food supply chains in historically marginalized communities and making fresh, nutritious food available to Virginians in every corner of our Commonwealth.”

According to the announcement from the governor’s office: VFAIF projects include a food retail component that accepts federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and offers the Virginia Fresh Match nutrition incentives program. Virginia Fresh Match doubles the value of SNAP benefits for fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets, increasing access to healthy foods and supporting local farmers.

Here are the projects in the Shenandoah Valley getting funding in the first round of grants:

Doña Fer Grocery Store, Rockingham County | $22,046

This project will fund a new cooler and repair an existing cooler at a small grocery store serving the Latinx community in Harrisonburg to meet the customer requests for more fresh foods, including milk, meat, and produce.

Jon Henry General Store, Shenandoah County | $25,000

Located in New Market, Jon Henry General Store is one of the only food retailers offering a produce box CSA-style program for SNAP/EBT customers that provides access to fruits and vegetables while also leveraging the Virginia Fresh Match program. Funding will support expanded cooler capacity and enable an expansion of this program.

Project GROWS, City of Staunton | $46,642

Project GROWS will operate a mobile market to increase fresh food access in a number of underserved communities in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County. Market locations will include elderly and fixed-income communities, low income housing complexes, and afterschool programs.

For more information, click here.

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