Red Tomato, a Massachusetts based non-profit local food distributor that connects mid-sized Northeast farmers to wholesale markets, has received $492,000 through the United States Department of Agriculture Local Foods Promotion Program (USDA LFPP) for a 3 year project to bring increased scale and value to Northeast farmers.
As one of 9 recipients in the Northeast, and only 3 in Massachusetts, Red Tomato will build on its 20 years of experience to develop logistical solutions that enable mid-sized farms in New England to reach local wholesale markets. In addition to logistics support, the grant will support an ambitious plan for Red Tomato – in partnership with a network of orchards and farms – to focus on collaborative solutions involving workers and farm managers through training in product quality management, communications and food safety. While these activities are not usually visible to shoppers, the grant will enable Red Tomato to provide marketing support to convey the work of everyone in the food system to the final customer.
As one of the pioneers in local food marketing and distribution, Red Tomato has always valued fairness and equity throughout our supply chains. This support will enable us to expand our services to farmers and tell those stories to people where they shop and eat every day commented Executive Director, Laura Edwards-Orr.
Over the next three years, Red Tomato will work with regional wholesale and trucking partners to innovate cost effective solutions to double the volume of local produce in their direct store delivery program, which allows Red Tomato to bring high quality local produce to mainstream shoppers at an affordable price. Work is already underway with retail partners including Hannaford Supermarkets and Whole Foods to increase trucking efficiency for farmers and develop programs that improve working conditions, pesticide management and food safety for farm workers and consumers.
Click here to learn more about the USDA Local Food Promotion Program.
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