Fauquier, Loudoun to study feasibility of regional food port
Fauquier and Loudoun counties will evaluate the feasibility of a regional food port with a $35,000 grant from Virginia’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund.
The port could act as a commercial-scale food distribution center where farms, cooperatives and local food hubs aggregate product supply for storage, processing and preparation for urban farm markets.
The counties hope to identify opportunities for increased agricultural production and to target infrastructure investments for growth. Results of the study will be shared statewide to encourage more farms and local food hubs to participate as suppliers of the food port.
Clarke County also has received a $5,947 AFID grant to study the fiscal benefits of agricultural land conservation.
The AFID planning grant program encourages local governments to promote agriculture and forestry and incorporate the needs of these industries into their strategic economic development plans. It has awarded $795,597 to 39 projects covering 58 unique localities across the commonwealth since its creation in 2012.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services administers the AFID program and planning grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the fiscal year. Successful funding requests must demonstrate a clear need, a proposed solution, strong support from local government and the agriculture and forestry community, and the ability to provide cash or in-kind matching funds.