Monte Azul Foundation gets $133K from USDA to train farmers
The US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development announced it has awarded $133,000 to Monte Azul Foundation in Yabucoa, a nonprofit that will train and educate youth and farmers to “become the sustainable farmers of tomorrow,” Luis R. García, acting state director in Puerto Rico announced.
The investment, which comes from the agency’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative, will support the nonprofit’s “La Canasta Saludable,” a food retail concept that will offer fresh produce and food staples in a engaging and educational way, incorporating a market garden and a greenhouse into the design.
“La Canasta Saludable” will be located at the facilities of the Asociación de Productores de Farináceos del Este located in Bo. Juan Martín of Yabucoa. Farináceos del Este is a nonprofit association of 40 plantain growers on Puerto Rico’s east coast. “La Canasta Saludable” is a joint venture between Monte Azul and Farináceos Del Este.
The local allocation is part of a global $22.6 million that the federal agency is making across the US mainland and Puerto Rico to improve access to healthy foods in underserved communities
The HFFI helps bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities.
“Many low-income communities lack adequate, affordable access to healthy food. HFFI provides grants and loans to entities that offer healthy foods in communities that are underserved by grocery stores and other food retailers,” the agency noted.
The program increases access to healthy foods, provides new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers, stabilizes small and independent retailers, and creates quality jobs and economic opportunity in low-income communities.