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East Haddam Gets STEAP Grant

The grant will go towards developing The Center for Community Agriculture at Harris Farm.

 

East Haddam received a $431,200 STEAP award to develop an agricultural business incubator and community farm.

The Center for Community Agriculture at Harris Farm will serve as an agricultural business incubator for new farmers, a technical resource for new and existing agricultural businesses, and a community farm for area residents. 

The town will engage the Middlesex County Farm Bureau, UConn Agricultural Extension Service, the 4-H Program, and the Vo-Ag program at Nathan Hale-Ray High School for technical resources and education. They estimate the community farm will support 20 full and part-time jobs.

"The state's commitment to community agriculture in East Haddam is a smart investment,” said State Representative Linda Orange (D-East Haddam). “Connecticut’s agricultural industry is contributes $3.5 billion to the state’s economy, supporting over 20,000 jobs."

“We are very pleased to receive funding for this project,” said First Selectman Mark Walter. “The Center for Community Agriculture will serve as an agricultural business incubator for new farmers, a technical resource for new and existing agricultural businesses, and a community farm for area residents.  We have been planning this project for better than a year and are eager to bring this facility into operation to create jobs, grow our economy, and enhance food security.”

East Haddam's STEAP grant was one of several awarded to central Connecticut towns for various capital improvement projects. Other STEAP grants were awarded to Middlefield, Berlin, Cromwell, Portland and Southington.

“These capital grants are important for many towns as they look to make repairs to critical infrastructure or promote economic development,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in announcing the grants this week.  “At a time budgets are stretched to the limit, we can and must maintain our commitment to improving the overall quality of life for our residents.” 

Observor January 12, 2013 at 04:36 AM
" . . . and are eager to bring this facility into operation to create jobs, grow our economy, and enhance food security." East Haddam's last dairy farm threw in the towel last year and sold off its herd. Jobs? What jobs? How many non-seasonal, agricultural jobs are there in East Haddam now? How many "new farmers" are you going to incubate with a grant that couldn't buy enough land to create one viable farm? This reminds me of the Moodus sidewalks. The Feds gave us enough money to make Moodus "a walkable village" with a net effect of minus zero - we must now pay a power bill for all those pretty street lights and to maintain sidewalks that are rarely used. This grant money will also be spent to no effect and when it's gone they'll come to the Board of Finance with promises of jobs and growing our economy and enhanced food security and want the East Haddam taxpayes to start picking up the freight for the fantasy that we are still an agricultural community.

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