USDA funds local food network development

October 28th, 2016

Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

The Northeast Indiana Regional Food Network received a $43,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help cultivate new and expanded opportunities for existing ag-related businesses and nurture the establishment of new ones.

The effort is being led by Wells County Revitalization Inc.

“Northeast Indiana is home to a network of food businesses that provide a vibrant economy and enhance the quality of life in the region. By developing a collaborative regional approach to the food network together, we will capitalize on the region’s agricultural strength and create opportunities for future growth,” Tim Ehlerding, executive director of Wells County Economic Development, said in an Oct. 28 statement.

Current and planned regional food network projects include regional food hubs, incubators, farm-to-fork initiatives, farmers markets, food festivals, cooking education, urban agricultural production, community kitchens and neighborhood spaces.

“The funding represents the ongoing efforts to create economic and job opportunities in rural areas by ensuring that strategic investments are made in our small towns and cities,” said Philip Lehmkuhler, director of USDA Rural Development Indiana.

Last year, the network received $15,000 in initial funding from the Regional Opportunities Council, the investor board of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.