January, 2023, Providence Rhode Island
Red Tomato, a Rhode Island based non-profit local food distributor that connects mid-sized Northeast farmers to wholesale markets, has received $380,359.10 through the United States Department of Agriculture Local Foods Promotion Program (USDA LFPP) for a 3 year project to add value for small and mid-sized Northeast tree fruit growers through co-branding and co-marketing of EcoCertifiedTM fruit. We are one of 16 recipients in the Northeast, and 3 in Rhode Island.
Building on 25 years of experience, Red Tomato will investigate, identify, and leverage co-branding and co-marketing opportunities held by small and mid sized fruit growers in the Northeast that will reach and connect with eaters. We will develop & deploy marketing tools, resources, and opportunities in partnership with growers, processors, and other institutional partners. This is part of a larger strategy allowing Red Tomato to reach beyond retailers to connect with eaters, building a connected and engaged community that values, supports and purchases local and regional products.
Our investigations will include three EcoCertified growers with strong direct markets and demonstrated interest in the project; Fishkill Farms, NY, Rogers Orchards, CT, and Scott Farms, VT. We will also engage three northeastern sustainability focused produce processors; Wellness Croft, Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) processor Franklin County Community Development Corporation (FCCDC), and Seal the Season. Based on findings with this first wave of collaborators and prior research on value-added opportunities we will develop screening criterion for potential additional collaborators and opportunities that are a good fit for tailored co-branding strategies, and recruit growers from the EcoCertified network and processors who could source EcoCertified produce and connect with the central messaging of the EcoCertified Program to continue building project impact.
Click here to learn more about the USDA Local Food Promotion Program.