Jasper Schneider, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development state director for North Dakota, says the Red River Regional Council received a $32,941 grant to assist Red River Valley Community Action in researching the development of a self-sustaining greenhouse business.
"This project has a great concept with numerous benefits, as it will provide healthy, local foods and offer job training opportunities," Schneider says. "We are proud to partner with both entities to find unique solutions to issues in our local communities."
The grant will be used by RRVCA to research a greenhouse operation focused on providing primarily salad greens and other low-intensity produce. The research will explore various greenhouse models and consider locating in rural Grand Forks or Walsh County. The key concept is to sell harvested produce at a market rate to grocery stores, restaurants and distributors. The resulting revenue will then be used to subsidize social service programs.
RRVCA's services address nutrition and hunger issues, and also help the people they serve achieve economic independence. The greenhouse project seeks to provide broader access to healthy produce and job training to disadvantaged or unemployed people.
The grant announced is administered through USDA's Rural Business Enterprise Grant program. Since 2009, this program has provided more than $1.3 million in grants for North Dakota projects that finance business development. For more information on USDA programs, please call 701-530-2037 or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/nd