San Joaquin Valley farm and meals venture awarded $16 million in federal funds – Food Weblog

Local meals advertising and marketing, enterprise and market assist for small-scale farmers and meals producers, new agricultural merchandise and know-how growth are components of a University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources venture designed to spice up jobs and farm resiliency within the San Joaquin Valley.

The Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation Coalition, or F3, obtained a $65.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Of that award, about $16 million is designated for the Local Farm and Food Innovation initiative led by UCANR. With the addition of matching share of price contributions, the whole price range for UC ANR’s venture is over $20.5 million.

“As a key a part of the broader F3 venture, this Local Farm and Food Innovation initiative goes to be transformative,” stated Glenda Humiston, University of California vp for agriculture and pure assets. “By strengthening the components of the meals system to higher assist one another and drive innovation throughout the area, it is going to ship many environmental and financial advantages to Californians.”

Gabriel Youtsey is chief innovation officer for The VINE, a UC ANR initiative that helps new know-how make it to market and companies get off the bottom by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and assets, and aligning college and startup know-how growth with trade wants.

“The Local Farm and Food Innovation initiative is a win for inclusive innovation in agriculture within the San Joaquin Valley and a vital a part of the F3 venture,” stated Youtsey. “It supplies a broad set of coaching and assist assets and experience to assist farms, meals producers and distributors of all sizes to develop their companies profitably and sustainably, in alignment with the financial objectives of the area.”

To guarantee know-how options tackle the wants of small-scale farmers, meals enterprise homeowners and native communities, they are going to be invited to take part in directing the innovation actions, Youtsey stated.

“With our deep roots within the San Joaquin Valley, UC Cooperative Extension is uniquely positioned to attract experience from different components of UC and develop its efforts in serving to farmers and meals entrepreneurs understand enduring prosperity and group resilience,” Humiston stated. “UC ANR specialists are already serving to immigrants and different underserved communities adapt to climate change, add flexibility to provide chains and develop grassroots improvements. We are excited the federal authorities is investing in making meals programs extra equitable and worthwhile, and the options extra scalable.”

To help small-scale farmers in complying with new rules and manufacturing challenges, adapting to climate change and discovering new markets for his or her produce, UC ANR is convening the Small Farms Technology and Innovation Alliance. They are collaborating with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers and different nonprofit organizations to supply translation companies, coaching and advertising and marketing help to farmers and meals producers. 

Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UC Cooperative Extension small farms advisor for Fresno and Tulare counties, and Houston Wilson, UC Organic Agriculture Institute director and UC Cooperative Extension tree crops entomology specialist based mostly at UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, are main outreach and engagement with small-scale and natural farmers

“While we actually must create new instruments to handle the distinctive challenges of natural agriculture, it’s vital that farmers and different end-users be concerned from begin to end,” stated Wilson. “The growth of applicable know-how requires communication throughout a variety of stakeholders.” 

To make new know-how extra accessible for small farmers and meals producers, UC ANR will create a brand new staff to check and display know-how that’s developed as a part of F3 and by startups around the globe. To promote adoption, the staff will create a device lending library so farmers can borrow and check out gear and get coaching to make use of it.

“This venture will develop on present efforts to assist small-scale farmers with entry to gear, new markets and technical assist,” stated Dahlquist-Willard. “Our staff is dedicated to significant engagement of farmers and San Joaquin Valley communities within the growth of recent instruments and assets for the advantage of the area.” 

For native meals entrepreneurs and distributors, UC ANR will launch the Cultiva La Salud Kitchen and Food Academy and the Saint Rest Food Entrepreneurship Program, which can present a kitchen, gear and coaching. These will create new jobs and, over time, present a market to promote these merchandise. The Local Food Marketing Assistance Program will promote purchases of domestically grown produce and meals merchandise.

The Fresno-Merced venture was one in every of 21 tasks funded of the 529 proposed for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge supposed to uplift underserved communities.