COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Food Mill, a local, multifunctional food farmacy, received $745,500 from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). The funds will go towards the non-profit’s mission of battling food insecurity.
Olivia Amos, the Executive Director of The Food Mill, said the organization is in the process of building a farmers market, mobile farmers market and shared kitchen space. The farmers market and mobile farmers market are projected to be completed in mid-March.
“It helps communities like ours that are low income also have low access to local food so it has really mobilized us to be able to be able to build upon the work that we’ve started,” said Amos.
According the Amos, the LFPP grant that The Food Mill received from the USDA is the biggest food promotion grant that was given out in the state of Georgia.
The new developments will also provide more jobs in the community including multiple managers and sales associates. The Food Mill will also be the retailer for local farmers providing them with the opportunity to expand their sales through the farmers market and mobile farmers market.
Amos said the mobile farmers market will be targeting the Columbus Housing Authority communities, areas that are in food deserts and senior disabled communities. Through partnerships with different organizations, families utilizing the mobile farmers market will be eligible for free food and SNAP Georgia recipients will be able to use their SNAP dollars at the farmers market located at The Food Mill.
“A lot of times you see transportation is a barrier and if you don’t have a store within walking distance then it’s tough for families to be able to have the ability to purchase fresh food. We want to take away that barrier as far as transportation and make sure we’re going to our families and serving them in the neighborhoods that they’re living in,” said Amos.
The shared kitchen space will be located inside of the Fox Community Center and will be shared with Open Door Community House Culinary. The culinary incubator participants will have a 90 day trial to use the shared kitchen while they build their food based businesses.
“It really helps our local economy. Shared kitchen spaces, farmer’s markets, mobile farmers markets, it’s all about the community and each of these pieces work together to create that community aspect to really help support our local food entrepreneurs,” said Amos.
The shared kitchen space will also be available for rent once it is completed. Students at Fox Elementary School and Truth Spring Academy will also have agriculture and culinary subjects integrated into their curriculum that will allow them to use the kitchen space.