Two Nonprofit Food Operations Receive $668K in State Funding

July 24, 2018 — Two Massachusetts nonprofits, one in Worcester and the other in Boston, which operate kitchens that connect locally grown food products to area residents, recently received grants totaling $668,300 from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to expand their operations.

Announcing the grants last week, Gov. Charlie Baker said, “By supporting these enterprises, the Massachusetts Food Ventures Program plays an important role in our administration’s efforts to reduce food insecurity and improve economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income communities across the Commonwealth.”

The Massachusetts Food Ventures Program provides financial support to food ventures sited primarily in or near communities of low- or moderate-income, including Gateway Cities and rural communities. With expanded investment, completed projects will improve access to Massachusetts-grown, harvested or caught food products through the development of collaborations with local agricultural enterprises and private/public entities.

Receiving the grants were:
  • Worcester Public Market. It was granted $500,000 to purchase specialized equipment for Worcester Public Kitchen’s manufacturing operation that focuses primarily on processing Massachusetts grown and harvested food products. The end product will be shelf stable and other value-added products, helping emerging food businesses scale up.

  • Commonwealth Kitchen, which received $168,000, also to purchase specialized equipment for its manufacturing operation that focuses primarily on processing Massachusetts grown and harvested food products.
“Supporting local food ventures and our agricultural industry is a crucial part of implementing our Local Food Action Plan and building a sustainable, resilient, and equitable food system in which more of our food is grown, caught, processed and distributed within Massachusetts,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “These food ventures help farmers extend their season and expand their markets while improving access to healthy, locally grown, affordable foods in food insecure communities.”

“Worcester Public Kitchen is at the intersections of food access and security, the local food movement, and supporting emerging businesses,” said State Representative Mary Keefe (D-Worcester). “I’m very pleased that this grant will increase their production scale and overall impact in our community.”

“I’m thrilled to see one of these grants go to Commonwealth Kitchen. They are a fantastic organization: they bring fresh food to our neighborhoods, bolster our local economy, and increase equity within the food industry,” said State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston). “MFVP grants will help Commonwealth Kitchen and organizations like them expand their services and provide much-needed support to upcoming food businesses in our state. This is a valuable and exciting investment in our neighborhoods.”