Thursday, September 16, 2021

Baker-Polito Administration Announces $15 Million in Support for the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program

Second Round of Funding Will Increase Access to Fresh Local Food, Strengthen Local Food System 

Building on investments to address food insecurity among Massachusetts residents, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced it has made available $15 million in funding through a second round of its Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program. The funding will enable the Administration to continue to implement the recommendations of the Food Security Task Force, which was convened last year by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center in response to increased demands for food assistance.

“Addressing food security issues remains a high priority of our Administration to help ensure all residents have fresh, healthy produce readily available to them,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By working with dedicated partners, we will continue to strengthen the food distribution supply chain and address more needs throughout the Commonwealth.”

“This round of grants from the Food Security Grant program will further expand on our efforts to provide greater access to locally harvested and produced food products,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “With higher numbers of people experiencing food insecurity, we continue to take significant strides in ensuring fresh, locally sourced food remains widely available to the residents of Massachusetts.”

The Administration opened the funding opportunity on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 and is currently accepting applications for funding. In this round, the program is focused on addressing access to fresh food by improving and strengthening the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s food system and expanding the distribution of locally grown and sourced products to vulnerable communities. The Request for Responses for project proposals is available here, and is open until October 31, 2021.

The Administration launched the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program last year as part of a $56 million investment to combat food insecurity for Massachusetts families and individuals. In addition to expanding access to healthy local food, the program seeks to ensure farmers, fishermen and other local food producers are better connected to a strong, resilient food system to help mitigate future food supply disruption. Last year’s program dedicated over $35.5 million to hundreds of projects to address food insecurity across the Commonwealth.

“The Baker-Polito Administration continues to dedicate critical resources to address food insecurity and ensure that residents across the Commonwealth are able to access fresh, local food,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides. “Building on recent investments with this additional funding will further strengthen the Commonwealth’s food distribution network, invest in local farms and fishermen and women to areas of food insecurity and build a more resilient food system.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration has been addressing increased food insecurity for families as a result of the public health emergency, building on and strengthening the infrastructure in place, and leveraging existing nutrition resources like SNAP and WIC,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “The $15 million in additional funds will further strengthen the food system in Massachusetts, increasing access to local, healthy food, particularly among communities hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”​

Eligible grantees include entities that are part of the Massachusetts local food system, including production, processing and distribution, the emergency food distribution network, community and food organizations, school meal programming, urban farms and community gardens, non-profits, and other organizations involved in ensuring that everyone in the Commonwealth has access to fresh, healthy foods. Applications for the second round of the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program are due Sunday, October 31, 2021.

Eligible proposals include, but are not limited to, projects seeking to:

Increase the resiliency of the overall food system in the Commonwealth;

Increase capacity for food storage;

Increase capacity of local food distribution partners;

Increase capacity of the emergency food network;

Increase capacity of food production by purchasing food processing equipment; and,

Offer innovative solutions for urban farming.

Eligible grantees include entities that are part of the Massachusetts local food system including production, processing and distribution, the emergency food distribution network, Buy Local, community and food organizations, school meal programming, urban farms and community gardens, non-profits, and organizations that provide business planning, technical assistance and information technology services.

The first round of the Food Insecurity Infrastructure Grant Program was announced in May 2020 as part of a $56 million investment by the Baker-Polito Administration to combat urgent food insecurity for some Massachusetts families and individuals as a result of COVID-19. The Administration also announced a $5 million increase for the Healthy Incentives Program to meet increased demand for local produce and to increase access points that process SNAP and HIP benefits, $12 million for the provision of 25,000 family food boxes per week through a regional food supply system, and $3 million in funding as an immediate relief valve to food banks.


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Cider Hill Farm 40th Anniversary And Top Pick

Amesbury’s Cider Hill Farm was recently named the #1 Apple Picking Spot in the U.S. by Yelp. They were the only New England farm that made the Top 25 list. With that as a great backdrop, I joined owners Glenn and Karen Cook, state and local officials, and friends of the farmers to celebrate their accomplishments.







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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

May You And Your Family Have a Blessed Yom Kippur

G'mar chatima tova - I would like to wish all of my Jewish constituents, friends and colleagues a meaningful Yom Kippur.  


 


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Gloucester Drawbridge Replacement Project

The MBTA has shared the following press release regarding a switch relocation improvement and bridge construction schedule changes: 

Gloucester Drawbridge Replacement Project

Rockport Commuter Rail Service Update

West Gloucester Switch to be Relocated

Due to supply chain delays and bridge construction complexities, Commuter Rail service to Rockport will not be restored this month. While the MBTA evaluates alternatives to restore rail service as soon as possible, work crews will use this opportunity to accelerate other projects planned for the line that would have required service interruptions in 2022.

By incorporating these unrelated projects in the new construction schedule, future impacts to customers will be minimized.

Shuttle buses will continue to serve Gloucester and Rockport Stations, and the MBTA has the capacity to offer additional buses if ridership demand warrants it.

In addition to completing bridge construction, the MBTA and Keolis plan to relocate the switch that is currently located about 700 feet north of the West Gloucester Station. The switch allows trains to move from one track to the other. It was relocated initially to allow operations to continue from West Gloucester while trains could not travel to Rockport to change direction. The project has progressed construction to the point that the switch can now be relocated. Keolis anticipates the relocation will be completed within a month. Once the relocation is complete, the West Gloucester neighborhood will experience fewer impacts related to train idling and operations in that area of the line.

The MBTA appreciates its customers' patience and understanding as workers make critical upgrades to infrastructure and improve safety and reliability for decades to come.

For more information about the project, and to sign up to receive updates and future meeting notices, please visit the project website at www.MBTA.com/GloucesterDraw. For questions or comments related to the project, please email GloucesterDraw@MBTA.com


 


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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

LIFE AFTER THE LAB

7News - WHDH Boston's Alex DiPrato highlights the people, and the pups, behind the Beagle Freedom Project. Tonight at (and 10. 

I filed the bill to give animals used in medical and product testing experiments a life after the lab. Often referred to as the Beagle Freedom Bill (because beagles are so docile they are used more than any other animal), my proposal will facilitate new relationships between research laboratories and non-profit animal rescue organizations. More than 60,000 dogs and nearly 20,000 cats are used for animal experimentation in the US each year. #MassBeagleBill


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Election Day In The City of Gloucester

Preliminary Election For Mayoral Race Only 

Registered voters in Gloucester can vote today up to 8:00 PM. 

Polling Places Locations 

Ward 1 Precinct 1 East Gloucester Elementary School

8 Davis Street Extension

Ward 1 Precinct 2

Glen T. MacLeod Cape Ann YMCA

7 Gloucester Crossing Road

*please note above is a WARD 1 location change as of 5/11/2021

Ward 2 Precinct 1

Our Lady’s Youth Center

140 Prospect Street

Ward 2 Precinct 2

Our Lady’s Youth Center

140 Prospect Street

*please note above is a WARD 2 location change as of 10/01/2012

Ward 3 Precinct 1

Gloucester High School Field House

32 Leslie O. Johnson Road

*please note above is a WARD 3 location change as of July 2014

Ward 3 Precinct 2

Gloucester High School Field House

32 Leslie O. Johnson Road

*please note above is a WARD 3 location change as of July 2014

Ward 4 Precinct 1

Beeman Memorial School

138 Cherry Street

Ward 4 Precinct 2

Plum Cove School

15 Hickory Street

*please note above is a Ward 4 location change as of Sept. 2020

Ward 5 Precinct 1

Magnolia Library Center

1 Lexington Avenue

Ward 5 Precinct 2

West Parish Elementary School

10 Concord Street


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Sunday, September 12, 2021

History Made and History Preserved In Wilmington

I had the pleasure of attending a unique dedication ceremony earlier this week at the Butters Farm in Wilmington. The Butters family have lived in town since the 1600's, they were among the first settlers of the town, and William Butters served on the very first Board of Selectmen. 

This ceremony, hosted by new residents Dave and Cory Surgue, commemorated the military history of the Butters family which predates the Revolutionary War. This ancestral home was lived in for more than 3 centuries and then the building was slated to be demolished. 7 years ago I worked to secure a legislative budget appropriation of $450,000 for the Town of Wilmington to purchase the farmhouse and property. Those funds, and others from state and donated sources, allowed for the historic preservation that keeps this property a vibrant place. The Town of Wilmington, MA Town Hall and Sugrues have worked hard to renovate the 'new' home, now known as the Sugrue-Butters Farm. 

The original house built by William Butters, who served on the first board of selectmen in Wilmington in 1730 was once part of the Underground Railroad. The Baldwin Apple, which for decades was the most popular apple in New England, also has its originating roots from this very farm. 


 














 



 

 


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