Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) announced yesterday that Cultivating Community, Portland has been awarded two federal grants. One award of $100,000 from the US Department of Health and Human Services was granted for a project to build refugee agriculture in Maine.
The second award of $536,604 from the US Department of Agriculture’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Program was granted for a project to support socially disadvantaged farmers.
“Local agriculture is growing rapidly in Maine and in recent years has become a backbone of our economy. New Mainers have been a key part of that growth,” said Pingree. “These grants will help Cultivating Community to strengthen Maine’s farm economy by including New Mainers and helping them to grow their farms. I’m thankful for the work Cultivating Community does and I’m looking forward to seeing how this USDA funding helps Maine’s small farms succeed.”
“New Mainers are generating some of the brightest spots in our communities and in our economy,” said Executive Director Craig Laapine. “That’s true generally and its true in agriculture. We’re grateful to have these resources to lift up, support and accelerate some of the amazing work being done by New American farmers in Maine.”
“With an aging population in Maine farmers and growing development pressure on farmland throughout the state, we’re thrilled to partner with the federal government to animate new pathways for New Mainers to enter our agricultural economy. Many members of Maine’s growing refugee and immigrant population bring deep agricultural knowledge here with them and our local food system only stands to benefit by welcoming new growers into our food and farming community,” said Cultivating Community Farmer Training Program Director, Alex Redfield.