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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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AL nonprofit urges Medicaid expansion to save rural hospitals; Harris skipping Netanyahu address shows daylight with Biden on Israeli leader; Biden to give first speech since dropping out of race; IN students face stricter attendance rules, new reading requirements; New Missouri law ensures medication access.

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Kamala Harris builds momentum toward nomination and vets potential Veeps. She and Trump take aggressive stances, as plans for a September debate continue. Sen. Bob Menendez says he'll resign, but will also appeal his corruption conviction.

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There's a gap between how rural and urban folks feel about the economy, Colorado's 'Rural is Rad' aims to connect outdoor businesses, more than a dozen of Maine's infrastructure sites face repeated flooding, and chocolate chip cookies rock August.

$1.5 million in grants support WA local food infrastructure

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Wednesday, July 10, 2024   

Washington state has allocated nearly $1.5 million in grants to support local food systems and supply chains. The Washington State Department of Agriculture distributed the funds to 40 projects, supporting farmers, food and meat processors, and distributors.

Galen Van Horn, local food system and supply chain specialist with the Washington State Department of Agriculture directed distribution of the funds and said there has been consolidation in the large-scale market that small and mid-sized operations can combat.

"We've just seen a clear need for investment to support those small and mid-sized operations and make sure the infrastructure is scaled to meet their needs, and that we don't just have very, very large food system infrastructure - like processing facilities and aggregation points - that are only really scaled for very large farms and food businesses," he explained.

The seeds of the program began in 2021, when the Washington Legislature distributed federal COVID-19 recovery funds to support local food infrastructure because of the pandemic's impact on supply chains. Since 2023, the Local Food System Infrastructure Grant program has distributed $8 million in state funds.

Van Horn said the program is popular and received nearly $19 million in requests - well over what it could provide. One project selected in 2022 was the nonprofit Columbia Community Creamery, which received more than $450,000.

"They got a large grant to get the equipment necessary to receive bulk milk deliveries, and then process that into jars and have it ready to be consumed. A lot of food safety involved there," he continued.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture expects to start the next application round in the summer or fall of next year. Van Horn said the agency looks for proposals that impact the regional food system, are achievable and ask for a reasonable amount of money.


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