Gov. Josh Shapiro toured York Fresh Food Farms Tuesday with Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and The GIANT Company Vice President Dave Lessard to announce GIANT’s $200,000 to support 2023-24 PA Farm Bill Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grants.
GIANT’s commitment increases funding for the state’s program to $700,000. The program is designed to increase fresh food access in urban food deserts and address inequities.
Noting Pennsylvania’s agricultural heritage, Shapiro said the industry helps fuel the state’s economic progress and contributes $132 billion to the economy.
“We must do more to close the gaps between Pennsylvania’s world-class agriculture industry and the kitchen tables of those most in need of healthy, affordable food,” Shapiro said in a statement.
The governor pledged his administration’s support of Pennsylvania agriculture and the PA Farm Bill and said he will “continue to work with partners like GIANT to make our investments go even further.”
Redding remarked that since many Pennsylvanians live in communities where the nearest fresh food is miles away, grants will help these communities reverse poor nutrition and fund new opportunities.
“We deeply appreciate The GIANT Company’s longstanding partnership with the Department (of Agriculture), and together with local partners like York Fresh Food Farms, their support is making gardens bloom in vacant lots and repurposed warehouses, and connecting neighbors long separated by ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic barriers around new opportunities to thrive together,” said Redding.
Since 2019, Pennsylvania has invested more than $2 million in urban agriculture. An additional $2 million has been leveraged by the state’s investment. A total of 113 projects in 19 counties across Pennsylvania are expanding fresh food access in locations that are sometimes served by only a single convenience store.
The GIANT Company’s support is part of its 100th anniversary celebration.
“Strengthening our food system is critical to The GIANT Company’s purpose of connecting families for a better future. And urban agriculture is critical to this narrative – it is growing food security, creating healthier communities, addressing food system inequities, and connecting families around the dinner table,” Lessard said.
“We are so proud to support this year’s Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program as part of our 100th anniversary celebrations, as these dollars will help grow resilient, food secure communities for generations to come.”
York Fresh Food Farms have built their production capacity, funding equipment, and cold storage with the aid of PA Farm Bill Urban Agriculture Grants of $15,000 in 2020-21 and $21,850 in 2021-22. GIANT’s Healing Our Planet initiative donated $8,000 in 2020-21 to support York Fresh Food Farms’ Mobile Produce Market.
CARES Act federal funds, along with a partnership with the local housing authority, allow York Fresh Food Farms to supply more than 200 shares of fresh produce throughout the year to York’s low-income families.