Ferrum College’s Local Foods Initiatives Receive A Boost

A planning grant recently awarded to Franklin County will help the College double its purchase of local foods.

Ferrum Mercantile

FERRUM, VA. (May 12, 2014) – Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe awarded a $15,000 Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development (AFID) planning grant to Franklin County, which will be used to help Ferrum College implement a shared plan to make locally produced food part of the County’s economic development strategy.

Included in the project is the operation of a flash freezer and storage freezer that will allow the College to double their purchases of local foods, increasing their local sourcing for campus food from an already impressive 30% to 60% from Virginia producers. The roughly $100,000 project is also benefitting from $49,402 in Tobacco Commission funds. The College is also working with Franklin County Public Schools on a pilot basis to provide fresh, local food to them as well.

“Supporting Virginia’s diverse agricultural and forestry sectors is a great way to expand and diversify our economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Assisting localities in identifying potential new projects and implementing programs that strengthen agriculture and forestry in their communities will contribute to building a 21st Century Virginia economy.”

The AFID planning grant program encourages local governments to work with the agricultural community to identify projects and opportunities that can bring important benefits to local producers, and the community as a whole. The planning grants are part of the Governor’s larger AFID program, an economic development tool specifically for agriculture and forestry value-added or processing projects.

“Partnering with local governments to leverage their resources and innovative ideas on growing and supporting Virginia’s agriculture and forestry industries, like we do with our AFID program, is good policy,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd P. Haymore.

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About the photo: The flash freezer and storage freezer, made possible in part by the recently awarded AFID grant, will be housed in the new Ferrum Mercantile, a college-owned business across from the campus on Route 40.

About Ferrum College: Ferrum College is a four-year, private, co-educational, liberal arts college related to the United Methodist Church. Ferrum offers a choice of nationally recognized bachelor's degree programs, at a cost well below the national average for private colleges. The College celebrates its Centennial during the 2013-14 academic year. For more information, visit www.ferrum.edu.