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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Ferrum College’s local foods initiatives receive boost
A planning grant will help college double its purchase of local foods
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Courtesy 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.

Friday, May 23, 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 its purchases of local foods, increasing its local sourcing for campus food from 30 percent to 60 percent from Virginia producers.

The college is also working with Franklin County public schools on a pilot basis to provide fresh, local food to the school system. In addition to the AFID award, the shared plan, a roughly $100,000 project, is also benefiting from $49,402 in Tobacco Commission funds.

"Supporting Virginia's diverse agricultural and forestry sectors is a great way to expand and diversify our economy," said 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."

Ferrum College President Jennifer Braaten shared the governor's enthusiasm.

"This is yet another example of Ferrum's longstanding commitment to campus and community sustainability," she said. "This award acknowledges the good work Ferrum is already doing in support of local agriculture and allows us to envision ways to do even more."

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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