News Releases from Region 06
Trump Administration Announces Assistance for Helena and McCrory, Ark., to Support Community Revitalization through Local Food Enterprises
16 communities nationwide receive assistance
DALLAS – (May 23, 2018) Today, in support of the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined other federal partners in announcing assistance to help Helena and McCrory, Ark., and 14 other communities revitalize downtowns, boost the local economy, improve public health, and protect the environment through local food enterprises. The assistance is provided through Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP), a federal initiative that helps communities reinvest in their neighborhoods and improve quality of life as they develop the local food economy.
“America’s farmers and ranchers are some of the nation’s first environmentalists,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We look forward to helping our community partners develop local food enterprises that support local farmers, improve public health, protect the environment, and grow local economies.”
Through LFLP, partner communities work with a team of experts to identify local assets and opportunities that can support local food enterprises, and set goals for leveraging those resources in ways that spur revitalization. They then develop an implementation plan and help identify potential resources from the participating federal agencies to support implementation.
In 2018, LFLP is supported by EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Delta Regional Authority. Since its launch in 2014, LFLP has helped 78 communities across the country develop local food enterprises—such as farmers markets, community gardens, and cooperative grocery stores—that improve environmental, economic, and health outcomes.
In Helena, Arkansas, the Helena-West Helena/Philips County Port Authority will explore a potential farmers market and events space in a long-abandoned building near downtown where underground storage tanks have been removed. The Port Authority (the local economic development entity) has acquired the site and begun cleaning up contamination from its past use as a school bus repair facility.
The city of McCrory, Arkansas, plans to comprehensively address barriers to good nutrition and physical activity by strategically connecting and integrating multiple initiatives, including a new community/school garden; a new “healthy hub” that brings clinical screening services, nutrition education classes, cooking demonstrations, prescription assistance, and food pantry distribution under one roof; and a potential farmers market and culinary incubator.
The communities receiving assistance today were selected from more than 75 applications. A summary of the rest of the planned projects is provided below.
EPA is also releasing a new report to help other communities interested in growing their local food economy. Lessons from Community Leaders on Using Local Foods to Revitalize Downtowns summarizes experiences, successes, and challenges from LFLP partners who participated in a national LFLP Summit in Washington, D.C. in July 2017. An update on results from 2017 LFLP community projects is also now available.
2018 LFLP Community Projects:
Restoration 154/Foundation 154 in Elba, Alabama, will plan a central farmers market to spur downtown revitalization and help mitigate the loss of people traveling through downtown after the opening of a highway bypass. The workshop will also help identify strategies to make the downtown square more environmentally friendly, a longstanding goal of the city.
The Alaska Food Policy Council aims to create a highly visible, working urban farm in Anchorage, Alaska, that serves as a site for food production, a job training center, a sustainable farming innovation and demonstration hub, and a community center. The project will help address real and perceived contamination on the site from a former leaking underground storage tank and a nearby former dry cleaners identified by the city as a candidate for Brownfields cleanup funds.
The city of Phoenix, Arizona, intends to develop a plan to improve access to healthy food in the South Central Light Rail Corridor, an economically distressed area. The plan will be folded into other initiatives in the area, including implementing a strategy for equitable transit-oriented development and restoring and improving access to the Rio Salado (Salt River).
Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, Kentucky, wants to strengthen the local farmers market and determine the next steps for several food-based initiatives, including a certified canning kitchen that can help address the loss of coal-based jobs and tax revenue by creating new opportunities for producers, food crafters, and entrepreneurs.
The Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District is seeking assistance to help coordinate multiple revitalization and food security initiatives in a densely populated, demographically diverse area of downtown Louisville, Kentucky. This area suffers from high poverty and unemployment, a growing urban heat island effect, the recent closure of its retail grocery stores, and a significant number of abandoned and vacant properties. Planning for a new cooperative grocery store will incorporate strategies to improve air, water, and soil quality while increasing tree cover for the public.
Engine, a nonprofit organization in Biddeford, Maine, is planning for the redevelopment of a vacant main street building, made possible through a Brownfields cleanup grant, to support continued revitalization of the historic Main Street and Mill District. The project will house food-related businesses and nonprofits and include an 8,000-square-foot green space and urban garden on the rooftop.
Working with the town of Duck Hill, Mississippi, and the Achieving Sustainability through Education and Economic Development Solutions Partnership, Action Communication and Education Reform is looking to use environmentally-friendly infrastructure to address longstanding stormwater and flooding problems as a necessary first step to enable revitalization efforts, including a 2.5-acre community garden and downtown farmers market.
In Farmington, New Mexico, the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension, in collaboration with the city and community partners, will coordinate efforts to expand local food production, improve food access, and revitalize the historic downtown. Supporting local food enterprises would help the city reconnect with its historic roots as a farming community while expanding access to jobs and business opportunities, increasing diversified local food options, and protecting natural resources.
In Silver City, New Mexico, the Volunteer Center of Grant County will bring the community together to reduce food waste in the downtown districts and nearby neighborhoods, create more garden spaces, and strategize how to grow more local food while providing economic opportunity to those in need.
The Seven Valleys Health Coalition, working with the City of Cortland and the Cortland Food Project committee, will develop a long-term strategy that ties growth and development of an equitable local food system into Brownfields revitalization and other ongoing planning efforts in the city.
The Delaware Nation will focus on revitalization in Anadarko, Oklahoma, to create a community anchor for physical activities and healthy, local food. The project aims to establish a permanent farmers market, develop a walking and biking trail, and create a community garden that will help manage stormwater runoff, improve air and soil quality, and reduce waste through composting.
The Sustainable Economic Development Task Force of Indiana County wants to further diversify the local economy by creating a plan to help a new co-op in downtown Indiana, Pennsylvania, succeed. The co-op provides access to healthy, locally-produced foods for people at all income levels and improves the local economy by supporting county producers employing sustainable farming methods.
The Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities in North Charleston, South Carolina, wants to redevelop a former Brownfields site into a park with walking and biking trails and an open-air market that would create economic opportunities for farmers and businesses.
In support of its goal to become a more healthy, walkable, and bikeable community, the Hopewell Downtown Partnership in Hopewell, Virginia will explore creating a new kitchen incubator in a downtown building that could help develop new food entrepreneurs and catalyze new businesses to locate in vacant storefronts. A possible community garden on an adjacent lot will help educate residents and contribute to the area’s revitalization.
For an update on 2017 LFLP projects: https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places#2018
To read the LFLP Lessons from Community Leaders report: https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places-summary-reports
For more information on LFLP: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places
For more about EPA’s work in Arkansas: https://www.epa.gov/ar
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