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Rocky Mount tapped to participate in new White House initiative

Posted December 4, 2014

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— Rocky Mount is one of 26 cities nationwide selected to participate in the White House’s latest initiative, called “Local Foods, Local Places,” federal officials said Thursday.

The initiative aims to provide Rocky Mount and participating cities with technical support to integrate local food systems into their community economic action plans.

“The Local Foods, Local Places initiative illustrates that communities are thinking about creative ways to integrate local food in their community economic development plans,” Doug O’Brien, deputy under secretary with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said in a statement. “The projects developed via Local Foods, Local Places will revitalize rural Main Streets and urban downtown areas, and create market opportunities for food producers and entrepreneurs.”

A team of agricultural, transportation, environmental, public health and regional economic experts will work directly with Rocky Mount to develop specifically identified local food projects.

Projects such as repurposing vacant land into local food production, developing year-round retail markets for local food products and establishing food hubs to increase local food supply chains have already been proposed by the White House Rural Council, according to officials.

Rocky Mount will receive technical assistance to establish a new farmers market in an economically challenged part of the city and to develop urban community gardens on former brownfield sites and FEMA buyout lots and near affordable housing developments. A complete list of communities participating in the Local Foods, Local Places Initiative is available at WhiteHouse.gov.

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