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.”