Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

“F3” innovation and economic development initiative in Central Valley receives $65 million award from US Economic Development Administration

The White House this morning announced that the Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation Initiative (F3) is an awardee in the US Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge, which seeks to boost economic recovery from the pandemic and rebuild American communities, including those grappling with decades of disinvestment. The F3 initiative is receiving $65 million for expansion of the region’s agrifood tech industry, to support growth of small farms, and to provide training opportunities for thousands of Valley residents.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross: “This initiative is well on its way to being a glowing success story for the Central Valley. Diverse stakeholders have come together to envision a future centered on equity, inclusion and opportunity, and we have established a pathway that will enhance the sustainability and productivity of climate smart agriculture; further workforce development for the jobs of the future; and develop food entrepreneurship, agroecology, and the viability of small farms. I wish to thank our partners – UC Merced, CSU Fresno, the UC’s department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Central Valley Community Foundation, a total of eight Central Valley community college campuses, and local community leaders in agriculture, business, economic development, and environmental justice. ”  

Two members of CDFA’s State Board of Food and Agriculture are from the Central Valley and are praising the announcement:

“This federal award is a critical investment for the future of the Central Valley – providing communities and farmers increased opportunities to support high quality jobs, training and small businesses. The Fresno – Merced Future of Food Innovation (F3) initiative will be transformative for the region and will further progress on our state’s climate resilience. I applaud the Central Valley Community Foundation and F3 coalition for their leadership and vision. California’s farmers and ranchers are eager to be part of the process.” Don Cameron, President of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture.

“As a resident and business owner in Merced, I’m eager for the opportunities the F3 Initiative can provide. Our local communities can greatly benefit from investments in education, increased training and the upscaling of the agricultural workforce. The Central Valley is a treasure to this state and our nation, and this award recognizes the value of the region and it’s communities.”Mike Gallo, Joseph Farms and Board Member – California State Board of Food and Agriculture.   

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