What is 401Gives?

What is 401Gives?

401Gives is powered by United Way of Rhode Island. On April 1st every year, Rhode Islanders are encouraged to donate to local nonprofits that deliver vital services to our communities throughout the state (that includes Red Tomato!). Check out the 401Gives website here.

401Gives highlights local nonprofits, their missions, and the value of your donation to their work. In 2023, over $3.4 million was raised for 546 RI nonprofits! The power and support of Rhode Islanders to nonprofits is truly astounding, and we hope you consider donating to Red Tomato’s mission this year on April 1st.


So, why Red Tomato?

Red Tomato is a nonprofit organization with a multi-faceted approach to food system change. As a food hub, we market and sell fresh produce from small and mid-sized farms in the Northeast to wholesale, retail, and non-traditional markets. In our programmatic work, we identify inefficiencies, inequities, and opportunities in our supply chains, then innovate, test, and refine solutions in wholesale marketing strategies, direct-to-consumer communications, and new distribution. 

Our mission is to connect farmers and consumers through marketing, trade, education, and collaboration, and through a passionate belief that a family-farm, locally-based, environmentally-oriented, fair-trade food system is the way to a better world. Our vision is that mid-size farms in the Northeast are the primary suppliers of a sustainable, regional food system that is equitable, affordable, and accessible to all.

Red Tomato moved to the Ocean State in 2020 and is a co-locator in the Farm Fresh Rhode Island building in Providence. Over the last 4 years, we have been growing our roots in our new home state–developing relationships with growers, food hubs, and retailers, and participating in networks dedicated to bolstering the state-wide food-scape. Our work helps connect the Rhode Island food system to the larger regional network of growers, food distributors, and marketplace.

Read on about a handful of our programs to see what your donation can contribute towards at Red Tomato!

EcoCertified TM

Our programmatic work includes EcoCertified, a tree fruit certification based on the most sustainable practices available in the region. In the Northeast, we have certified 15 orchards across a seven state region. 2024 is the year that we bring EcoCertified into the Midwest and Southeast, so folks across the country can understand the value and impact of ecological farming practices. Learn more at redtomato.org/eco.

The Bypass Network

Our supply chain work includes the Bypass program, which serves local and regional produce to communities in Connecticut. This program prioritizes building relationships across the food system and value-added solutions to market access and affordable local food access, including bringing urban and BIPOC growers into our network. The Bypass Network also generates opportunities for economic development and supports the overall health and stability of the participating communities. Read about our first few years of developing the Bypass program here.

Farm to School Partnership

Over the past 5 years, Red Tomato began looking at alternative channels for our growers to diversify their income as wholesalers become more competitive in their race to supply the cheapest food. In 2022, we began our partnership with Whitsons Culinary Group to bring EcoCertified apples into school districts across MA, CT & RI. Since 2022, we have been able to diversify product offerings from local and regional suppliers for schools, and expand our reach to more and more districts in CT & MA. We love co-hosting events at schools with Whitsons to highlight the importance of fresh, local produce in student meals!

Marketing Support for the Grower Network

The Red Tomato team has been dedicated to developing new tools and resources for growers to talk about and explain the importance of local food chains, and sustainably grown fruit in the EcoCertified program. Differentiation in the marketplace is critical for local farms to succeed – and our mission is to help them tell their story! Check out our 6-year social science research project, the Farming & Food Narrative Project, at https://www.farmingandfoodnarrative.org/