A statewide food assistance program has just received a federal grant of over $7 million. The funding will help expand the program, which connects small farmers and businesses with underserved communities.

The FarmsSHARE program is run by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA). It began in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the local food ecosystem, closing restaurants and disrupting food distribution channels.

The program was created to increase access to healthy, locally grown food, particularly for those in need. To date, over $3 million has been invested in local farms, food hub partners, and community-based organizations.

A new federal grant provides $7.6 million to CFSA, which will allow for the expansion of the program statewide.

Beth Farrell is a program specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which helped secure the funding.

She points to a food hub in the High Country as an example of the program’s success.

"That group has been a founding partner with CFSA, and has been able to distribute over 21,000 pounds of locally sourced produce, protein, and dairy products for community partners in serving Ashe and Watauga counties," says Farrell. 

Farrell urges any farmers or community organizations who would like to partner with CFSA to contact them directly.

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