News Bites: Local Agriculture and Seafood Act Grants Now Open / The Good Trade Makers Market Returns / Branchfood Launches RI Operations / BEATNIC Offering BOGO for Beginning of World Vegan Month

by David Dadekian

Current news releases—Eat Drink RI is not the source for these items—please follow any links for more information.


Gov. McKee, Legislative Leaders, Dem Announce $700,000 Program Funding To Support Food And Seafood Businesses

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management

Governor Dan McKee, leaders of the Rhode Island General Assembly, and the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announce that $700,000 in Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) programming funding is available to help new and existing food businesses grow and flourish. Enacted in 2012 to “support and develop more robust and self-sustaining agricultural and seafood sectors,” LASA is an important catalyst in strengthening the local food system. Since its enactment 10 years ago, LASA has provided more than $1.4 million through individual program grants up to $20,000.

“The 2022 Local Agriculture and Seafood Act grants support projects that help with the entry, growth, and sustainability of small or starting green sector businesses, with a particular focus on supporting a diversity of foods and food producers,” said Governor McKee. “LASA is a pillar of our food strategy through which Rhode Island is investing to provide consistent access to safe, healthy, affordable food.”

“The Local Agriculture and Seafood Act has always been about being firmly committed to our constituents and sending the message that we are 100 percent behind local businesses,” said Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski, the Senate sponsor of LASA. “Local food gets from farm to table in fresher condition and means fewer trucks on the road, which means less air pollution. LASA encourages more people to eat more local food. This means better health for Rhode Islanders and our environment.”

“In the 10 years since LASA’s inception, a broad and diverse array of businesses and organizations have benefitted from grants including farmers’ markets, family farms, urban agricultural initiatives, oyster growers, cider makers, and dozens of others,” said Rep. Deborah Ruggiero, LASA’s House sponsor. “I am thrilled to see the level of support going into the next round of program grant funding and look forward to seeing how recipients use it to make Rhode Island’s food system more resilient and sustainable.”

“The fiscal 2023 budget was a product of true collaboration between the House, the Senate, and the Administration, and the House is particularly proud to have helped expand the program funding of the LASA grants to an historically high level,” said House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin Abney. “From Newport to North Smithfield, seafood and agriculture are staples of Rhode Island and investing in them by investing in small producers will boost our whole food economy.”

“Small businesses are the cornerstone of the Rhode Island economy, and agriculture and seafood businesses are the backbone of our food system. This significant investment in the LASA program championed by Senator Sosnowski will enhance the great work it does to support Ocean State food producers, strengthen our local food system, and help address food insecurity in our state,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ryan W. Pearson.

“DEM is always working to get more home-grown food on the table and by supporting local farmers and fishers in growing their businesses, the LASA grants help achieve this,” said DEM Director Terry Gray. “Growing local and eating local, fresh, sustainable food minimizes transportation costs, reduces carbon emissions, and boosts the local economy while providing the freshest product possible to the consumer.”

The 2022 programming funding priorities include:

  • Supporting the entry, growth, and sustainability of small or beginning agriculture producers and fishers.
  • Supporting agriculture producers and fishers that are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
  • Supporting the development of new marketing, promotion, sales, and/or distribution channels.
  • Supporting the development of new products, including value-added processing capacity.
  • Fostering new cooperatives, partnerships, and/or collaborations among Rhode Island agriculture producers and fishers and supporting organizations.
  • Fostering and building capacity for markets connecting local farms and fishers with Rhode Island’s food insecure communities.
  • Protecting the future availability of agricultural land for producers, including farm transition planning and implementation, and assisting with on farm food safety improvements, including the developing of Food Safety Modernization Act and hazard analysis critical control point standards.

During the 2021 grant program, DEM awarded $250,000 of programming funding in LASA grants to 12 recipients. Eligible entities include for-profit farmers, fishers, producer groups, and non-profit organizations. Applicants must be based in Rhode Island and only small and/or beginning farmers, or producer groups of small or beginning farmers, are eligible to apply for capital grants. Aquaculture operators are considered farmers in the LASA program. 

For more information on the LASA Grant program, please visit DEM’s website. Applications should be completed online via the State of Rhode Island Grant’s Management System by Nov. 30, 2022 at 11:59 PM. Grant-related questions should be directed to Ananda Fraser, Chief Program Development in DEM’s Division of Agriculture and Forest Environment at 401-222-2781 or via email to DEM.LASA@dem.ri.gov.

DEM continues to work across many fronts to benefit and strengthen Rhode Island’s green economy and to assist local farmers and fishers in growing their businesses. There are more than 1,000 farms sprinkled across the state and Rhode Island is home to a thriving young farmer network. DEM continues to make investments in critical infrastructure as well as provide farm incubation space to new farmers through its Urban Edge Farm and Snake Den Farm properties. The state’s food scene is often cited as an area of economic strength ripe for innovation and growth. Already, the local food industry supports 60,000 jobs, and the state’s green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy annually.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.


The Good Trade Makers Market Returns to WaterFire Arts Center

The large-scale community shopping experience brings nearly 100 independent makers under one roof in Providence for a two-day celebration of creatives and tradespeople.

The Good Trade Makers Market 2021, photo by Carly Rae Brunault
The Good Trade Makers Market 2021, photo by Carly Rae Brunault

The Good Trade Makers Market will return to Providence, RI on November 19-20, 2022. This annual event gathers nearly 100 independent makers and small manufacturers of home decor, art, apothecary products, apparel, accessories, and more from all over the country for a weekend-long community shopping experience at WaterFire Arts Center (475 Valley Street, Providence, RI).

“What’s unique about The Good Trade is that we’re not only showcasing the amazing artisans, makers, and manufacturers who are based here in Rhode Island, but we are also welcoming businesses from 11 other states and introducing them to our little city during the weekend,” said event organizer BJ Mansuetti. “Rhode Islanders have long been committed to shopping small, and we believe that creating an inclusive space for creatives to come together before the holidays and sell their handcrafted goods provides an important boost to the local economy.”

Last year’s event brought in 5,000 shoppers from across New England and generated an estimated $300,000 in revenue for participating small businesses over the course of the weekend. “The community response to the event has been overwhelmingly positive, both from the vendor and shopper perspective. In 2021, vendors shared moving personal stories with our team about the life-changing support they received from shoppers, which was especially meaningful after an extremely difficult couple of years for small businesses,” added Mansuetti.

“With a return to live in person events in 2021, The Good Trade Market was such a great success for the art and maker community in New England, driving a much-needed revenue boost for so many small businesses around the holiday season,” said Peter A. Mello, managing director and co-CEO of WaterFire Providence. “We can’t wait to welcome them back to the WaterFire Arts Center again this year. It’s an event that we’re always excited about and look forward to hosting for many years to come.”

The Good Trade will also be bringing back the popular “Plinko for a Cause” this year. A large, interactive fundraising game where shoppers can donate $5 to play to win prizes provided by The Good Trade and their vendors. This year, 100% of the funds donated will benefit The Steel Yard’s Workforce Training Program, a job-readiness initiative that teaches industry safety standards and a wide range of metalworking skills to prepare community members for a career in metalworking.

Advance tickets for The Good Trade are available now for $7 in advance (advance sales end at midnight on November 18th ) and $10 at the door at goodtrademakersmarket.com. Ticket price include a beverage from our sponsors, including a small beer from Proclamation Ale or Trinity Brewhouse, a small cocktail from The Industrious Spirit Company, a small hot coffee from New Harvest Coffee Roasters, an iced tea from Grany Squibb’s Iced Tea, or a small ice cream from Gather Farm.  Other sponsors include Trinity Beer Garden, Gather Glass, Yelp, and Swamp Yankee Art.

Visit @goodtrademakersmarket on Instagram for daily giveaways from now through November 18th.

The Good Trade Makers Market
November 19 & 20, 2022
Noon to 6pm
WaterFire Arts Center
475 Valley St.
Providence, RI 02908
More info and tickets: goodtrademakersmarket.com/tickets


Branchfood Launches Rhode Island Operations

Global Food Innovation Platform Celebrates Expansion into the Ocean State

More than 80 food and industry leaders today celebrated the expansion of Branchfood, a global food innovation launchpad, into Rhode Island. First established in Massachusetts in 2015, Branchfood will support stage-two food and beverage startups, foodtech, and agtech companies in the state through a comprehensive set of services including curated events, connections to investors, shared workspaces, and advisory support.

“At Branchfood, we bring food founders and leaders together with corporate partners, investors, and experts to create a platform for collaboration and provide strategic advice to help the sector grow and thrive,” said Branchfood Founder and CEO Lauren Abda. “We are thrilled to expand this work into Rhode Island, where we hope to bolster the state’s already rich food ecosystem to help solve the food industry’s most pressing challenges while also positioning Rhode Island to become an internationally-recognized food innovation leader.”

Earlier this year, Branchfood received funding from a Rhode Island Commerce Network Match Grant to assist Rhode Island’s food-related businesses to grow, scale, and lead the future of the food industry.

“Rhode Island is committed to building a strong local food economy and we see enormous potential for homegrown food entrepreneurs and established innovative food companies to find success in our state,” said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner. “Partners such as Branchfood are critical in helping us achieve this vision by supporting and connecting high-growth potential companies to strategic resources as they land and expand in Rhode Island.”

As part of this effort, Branchfood is partnering with the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) Providence, which will provide workspace, event venues, and marketing, as well as connections to a robust network of industry professionals and entrepreneurs.

“Innovation is our era’s answer to solving the world’s problems, and CIC supports innovation with every partnership we forge and every business we support,” said Tim Rowe, founder and CEO of CIC. “We’re proud and excited to work with Branchfood to not only grow and strengthen the economy, but also to increase opportunities for entrepreneurs and ultimately tackle complex challenges like food security and food waste.”

Branchfood has successfully supported more than 800 food founders across the region and globally and works with both start-ups and established global food corporations in the consumer products, agricultural, and tech spaces, as well as leading academic institutions and governments. To date, Branchfood’s sister company, Branch Venture Group, has invested more than $3.3M in 15 early-stage food startups.

The celebration kicked off with a panel discussion with some of the state’s most renowned food pioneers, including Lisa Raiola, president and founder of Hope and Main; Todd Blount, president of Blount Fine Foods; and Nicolas Warren, Branch Venture Group Angel Investor. Following the panel, attendees sampled food and drinks and engaged with entrepreneurs at a startup showcase that highlighted 10 local companies, such as Westerly’s Granny Squibb, Barrington’s Big Picture Foods, and Providence’s goTeff.

“We are thrilled to have Branchfood join the food ecosystem in Rhode Island,” said Lisa Raiola, founder and president of food incubator Hope & Main. “Branchfood’s services will advance and accelerate the work that we’ve been doing since 2014 to cultivate a thriving and resilient local food economy. The hundreds of food founders that incubate their start-ups at Hope & Main will find vital support to help them scale to the next level in Rhode Island and the region as Branchfood brings their marketing and manufacturing expertise along with food-focused sources of capital.”

Branchfood’s work in the Ocean State continues on October 6, with a session called the “Ins and Outs” of Scaling a Food Business in Rhode Island, followed by programs including Branchfood’s signature event, Community Table, and financing and investment opportunities for startups and investors in Rhode Island. Additionally, Branchfood and the Cambridge Innovation Center will begin welcoming entrepreneurs and food teams to the 225 Dyer Street location to work and collaborate later this fall. Learn more about Branchfood at branchfood.com and branchventuregroup.com.


World Vegan Month is More Fun with a Friend . . . That’s why BEATNIC is offering a buy one, get one, offer to kick off World Vegan Month!

Did you know that you don’t need to be vegan to enjoy vegan food? Well, of course you did 🙂 but did you know that 90% of plant-based food consumers are not vegan or vegetarian

Come and join the trend this November with Beatnic’s BOGO offering – you and a friend can enjoy a BUY 1 GET 1 FREE meal from November 1st to November 8th at all Beatnic locations in NYC, Providence, and Boston

Formerly By Chloe, Beatnic provides high quality, fast casual, vegan food, with a little something for everyone including their Guac Burger, Chicky Dippers, and seasonal menu items like their Loaded Shroom Chili or Truffle Melt.

The best part? You won’t have to feel guilty going back for seconds. Even swapping just one meal a week can positively impact the environment and your health (see below). 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

  • Diets of meat eaters create 7x the greenhouse gas emissions and use 10x the amount of water compared to the diets of vegans
  • A plant-based diet requires only one third of the land needed to support a meat and dairy diet. 
  • The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction

HEALTH BENEFITS 

  • More input of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, etc, provide more fiber and antioxidants to the body
  • Eating a low fat, high fiber vegan diet could lead to greater weight loss
  • Eating vegan can lower one’s risk of diabetes and certain cancers

ETHICAL CONSCIOUSNESS

  • Animals required for a meat diet are kept in overcrowded unethical conditions and are eventually slaughtered

Instructions:

  • Sign up using the link: https://signup.thanx.com/bychloe/worldveganmonth
  • Download the app and sign in
  • See the reward “free entree for a friend when you buy one!” 
  • Visit any Beatnic store, and redeem the reward at the register
  • To redeem, you must order one entree (salad, burger, sandwich) with both parties physically present to then redeem another entree for free

Terms and conditions:

  • Must redeem in store. Beatnic team member to swipe reward in app at the register to redeem.
  • Both parties must be physically present at the register.
  • Must purchase one entree to get the second of lower cost free.
  • Limit one per customer.
  • Must be an active Beatnic account holder or download the Beatnic app using the following link (https://signup.thanx.com/bychloe/worldveganmonth) to join our loyalty program to redeem.

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