LASA Grants Program

The Governor’s proposed budget included a permanent funding mechanism for LASA. Let your legislators know you think this is important!

LASA 2017 

The LASA Grants Program is co-managed by the Department of Environmental Management and the RI Food Policy Council, and is made possible by both state funding and funds from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, and the Rhode Island Foundation, granted to the RI Food Policy Council. This unique and unprecedented public-private partnership provides grants intended to directly benefit and strengthen the local food system in RI.

The 2016-2017 LASA program is made possible by $100,000 in funding from the State of Rhode Island, and an additional $130,000 in matching funds from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation, and the van Beuren Charitable Foundation.

LASA 2017

The application is CLOSED for the LASA Grants Program 2017.

Applications were due by 11:59 pm on March 1, 2017.

To ensure you receive notifications on TA sessions and other LASA-related information, please sign up for the RI Food Policy Council email listserve, the sign up tool is available at the bottom of any page on the RIFPC site 

Click here for application guidelines/instructions.

Online application link is no longer available

**Please note, this application must be completed in one sitting. We recommend you pre-write all your answers and copy and paste them into the application form when ready.

If you are unable to submit the online application or prefer to deliver a hard copy by mail or by hand, you may fill out a Word document version of the application, or a read-only pdf document. To submit, you must print out the application and mail or hand-deliver it by February 16, 2016, to the Division of Agriculture office: 235 Promenade Street, Room #370, Providence, RI 02908. (Please note that the Division of Agriculture office closes at 4:00 pm and may be closed for holidays and weekends.)

About the application:

Please note, the online application is strongly preferred, however it must be completed in one sitting. We recommend that you look at the questions and prepare your short answer responses and any additional documents for attachments ahead of time, before you begin to fill out the application form for submission. If you prepare answers in a word processing program such as Word, you should be able to copy and paste your answers into the online form.

Technical Assistance:

Technical Assistance sessions will be offered in January and February.  We will announce additional dates in coming weeks via the Food Policy Council email listserve, and social media.

TA Session at Social Enterprise Greenhouse January 31, 2017

CONCLUDED Technical Assistance SESSIONS:

January 31, 2017, 5:30-6:30pm, at Social Enterprise Greenhouse.  This innovative session will provide a unique opportunity to receive feedback on your proposal from advisers who have volunteered to participate in this “Flash Feedback” session.  Details and Registration available here.

Wed, Feb. 15, 2017 at Kingston Free Library, Potter Hall, 5-6pm

Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, at Hope & Main, 5-6pm

Please click here to view the Q & A sessions from the 2016 TA Sessions.

To ensure you receive notifications on TA sessions and other LASA-related information, please sign up for the RI Food Policy Council email listserve, the sign up tool is available at the bottom of any page on the RIFPC site 


Details on application evaluation and scoring are available in the guidelines. For examples of previous LASA award winners, please review the 2015 LASA Showcase Booklet, available here.


LASA 2016 Grant Recipients

The 2016 grant recipients were announced at the Ag Day speaking ceremony on Tuesday, May 10, with Governor Raimondo serving as the keynote speaker for the event. The 16 applications were awarded a total of $230,000 in LASA funds.

The 2016 grant recipients are:

Southside Community Land Trust, $19,462, to make improvements to support additional use of Urban Edge Farm in western Cranston, allowing 4-6 additional farmers to develop their businesses there. Improvements include field preparation, expansion of cold storage, and construction of an in-field wash station.

RI Land Trust Council, $19,757, to support initiatives aimed at improving farmland access and transfer in RI. RILTC, will work with Land For Good and other partners to deliver workshops, connect farmers and landowners, and direct technical assistance to farm seekers, transitioning farmers, and farmland owners with the ultimate goals of helping Rhode Island’s beginning farmers achieve land security and making more land available and affordable for farming.

Sun Farm Oysters, LLC, $9,754, to expand access to ice to enable Block Island aquaculture farms to quickly cool harvested and transported shellfish. Access to ice through an ice machine that uses a certified water supply for Block Island Oyster farmers will facilitate the ability to expand markets more efficiently while keeping procedures in alignment with protocols that prevent against food safety risks.

Albert Brandon, $2,874, for a project to purchase retractable low tunnels, as part of a larger project to expand the offering of local strawberry varietal in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. Brandon Family Farm will establish the low tunnels over day neutral strawberry plants, in a combination that has potential to significantly increase the season for locally grown strawberries. Information will be shared with other farmers.

Patrick McNiff/Pat’s Pastured, $15,000, to update the currently used Mobile Poultry Processing Unit and use funds toward purchase of additional equipment that will increase the efficiency and quality of Pat’s Pastured poultry. The goals include expansion of the poultry they bring to market to have a greater variety, such as ducks, quail, and more turkey for the holidays. Pat’s Pastured also plans to share learning with other farmers and interested consumers.

Zephyr Farm, $14,500, to purchase and build out an enclosed trailer to process vegetables and fruits to be sold fresh or frozen, a first of its kind in the state. In addition to expanding its product line, Zephyr Farm aims for this project to benefit the food system in multiple ways, including reducing food waste – processing produce that has not been sold rather – and, relatedly, increasing food access and food security.

Nathaniel Wood, Jenna Yu, Adam Graffunder, Foggy Notion Farm, $7,405, to upgrade infrastructure for a new, small scale, chemical free farm, including funding to build a greenhouse for seed starting, and a root cellar for corp storage. Foggy Notion Farm also intends to increase local food access by having a year-round CSA program.

Christian Durfee, Ocean State Oyster Hatchery, $10,000, to defray operational costs for oyster hatchery, part of a project to cultivate oyster seed from local broodstock specific to Ningret Pond to supply Rhode Island oyster farmers. In addition to addressing a gap in local seed availability, this project aims to foster collaboration amongst the aquaculture industry, thereby supporting Rhode Island aquaculture sustainability as well.

Erika Lamb, SecondsFirst, $19,706, to support a project that produces high quality, affordable and nutritious food products using imperfect vegetables from RI farms and under-appreciated fish from RI fish processors. While addressing food insecurity needs and increasing food access in Rhode Island, ScondsFirst will also be providing an additional source of revenue to farmers and fish processors for their own operations and will improve the efficiency and sustainability of the local food system by reducing waste.

Matthew Griffin, Roger Williams University, $19,204, to conduct local sugar kelp research to better understand feasibility of, and optimal locations for, kelp farming throughout Narragansett Bay. Multiple experimental farms will be placed with tracking of growth and product quality, with plans to transfer knowledge to the aquaculture industry through project collaboration as well as distribution of results in text and through a public aquaculture course.

Jon and Aden Restivo, Legend’s Creek Farm, $2,811, to install four additional beehives at Legend’s Creek Farm. This addition will expand the amount of honey, pollen, and beeswax produced at the farm, while also having benefitting crops growing on the property. By increasing bees in the area, Legend’s Creek Farm believes an additional benefit will be seen beyond their property and throughout the community in terms of agricultural production, since bees are critical to the process of growing fruits and vegetables.

Young Farmer Network, $19,938, to expand current community development programming, renew coalition building and collaboration to develop greater opportunity, land access, technical support, and infrastructural development for beginning farmers.  By expanding current programming – organizing events around land transfer and intergenerational, interracial community building – YFN seeks to continue building on their efforts to revitalize RI’s local farming culture. They will continue work to strengthen the social network within the agricultural community, reaching out to collaborate more with farmers from other generations, and cultures, who engage in a diversity of growing practices.  In building a more cohesive network around the diverse expressions of food production in the state, YFN aims to help build resiliency and viability in the sector.

Pickin Rock Produce/Silas Peckham-Paul, $16,091 to purchase equipment and conduct research in applying no-till farming methods to vegetable two crop production.  By gaining access to the specialized equipment, roller crimper and no-till vegetable transplanter, Silas Peckham-Paul seeks to enhance soil quality and structure, with benefits that include preventing soil erosion and resultant nutrient run-off.  He plans to give workshops and demonstrations on this approach to farming and this specialty equipment, and is also looking forward to collaborating with interested farmers in neighboring state. By maintaining organic matter in the soil, no-till farming allows more moisture to be held in the soil for longer — now that’s something New England farmers could use more of thanks to this year’s drought!  By being the first in Rhode Island to bring no-till farming on a larger scale, Silas can add to the knowledge base of no-till practitioners, sharing with the Rhode Island farm community along the way.

Mapleville Farm, $8,300, to expand the farm’s aquaponics greenhouse, expected to result in substantial increase in production of four-season produce.  In addition, the farm hopes to put together an educational program for those interested in starting their own aquaponics operations.  Aquaponics is a closed-loop growing method that produces two major products: fish and edible plants, and it is done in the same amount of space that would ordinarily be used to produce just one of those products. The extra space will not only increase the amount of food produced, but will also provide a venue for conducting educational productions and workshops that will in turn allow others to learn about the aquaponics growing principles, benefitting our Rhode Island local food system in the process.

Anna Jane Kocon, $15,349 to expand production of Little State Flower Company flower products. The three components LSFCo seeks are to hire its first employee, purchase a trailer to enable shuttling equipment between growing areas, and to purchase equipment for maintaining properties and increasing efficiency of harvest.  By targeting the areas of production bottlenecks, LSFCo hopes to develop a more efficient, sustainable, and profitable production season for 2016-2017. By expanding its production, LSFCo hopes to lead the way as the first and biggest local and organic cut flower wholesale supplier in Rhode Island.

Sol Chariots Pedicab Cooperative, $9,847 to expand delivery of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares as well as compost pick-up service.  The Harvest Cycle project creates a “full cycle” program, where farmers are able to sell their CSA shares through Sol Chariots’ delivery, and consumers are able to return their organic waste back to the soil of their local farms.  This program helps expand business for local farmers through sale of CSAs while also promoting the goal of reducing organics in the waste stream and sustainable agriculture. With LASA funds, Sol Chariots hopes to acquire delivery and compost collection equipment, pay tipping fees to local farms and gardens, build out the trailer per health department regulations, and cover initial personnel costs of running the program.

DEM and RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative, $20,000 for statewide seafood branding and marketing campaign

LASA 2015

The 2015 grant recipients were announced at the Ag Day speaking ceremony on May 28, with Michel Nischan from the Wholesome Wave Foundation serving as the keynote speaker at the event.  15 applications were awarded a total of $230,000 in LASA funds.

The 2015 grant recipients are:

$20,000 for the DEM and RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative’s statewide seafood branding and marketing campaign

$17,165 to the African Alliance of Rhode Island in Providence to support the efforts of immigrant and refugee farmers to acquire more growing space, increase crop production to meet growing demand for ethnic specialty crops, and improve marketing expertise and consumer education

$13,000 to Big Train Farm in Cranston to increase community-supported agriculture (CSA) membership among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in Rhode Island through targeted outreach and collaboration with community organizations and the purchase of a larger-capacity market vehicle

$6,973 to Blue Skys Farm in Cranston to build a professional drying room that will increase production of dried crops (including culinary, medical/tea herbs, flowers and hot peppers) and reduce drying times, creating new sales channels and increasing wholesale demand

$13,406 to Brian Pinsky, Matt Behan, Jim Arnoux, Jules Opton-Himmel, and Dr. Michael Rice in Charlestown to study seasonal and tidal variation in food levels and observe the growth and condition index of oysters being cultivated by six oyster farmers in Ninigret Pond

$7,600 to the City of Providence’s Healthy Communities Office to research and develop a Farmer’s Guide to detail regulatory, zoning, and permitting requirements related to on-site farm sales in Providence and develop marketing and outreach materials for a new urban farm stand in Providence

$16,432 to Eating with the Ecosystem in Warren to work with the Rhode Island Community Food Bank to get local Rhode Island seafood into Rhode Island’s food pantry distribution system through an experimental pilot project focused on distribution and education around low-value seafood

$9,464 to Elizabeth McDonnell and Michael de Cruz in Providence to build the infrastructure for small-scale, artisan sea salt production in Rhode Island, focusing on the unique and uniquely varied waters of the Narragansett Bay

$15,442 to Indie Growers in Bristol to build a solar heating system to provide radiant heat to the floor of an existing 12′ x 30′ high tunnel, enabling production of micro-greens and other unique specialty crops during winter months

$18,000 to the Northern RI Area Health Education Center in Woonsocket to support the Rhode Island Hospital Local Foods Challenge, a program to galvanize three Rhode Island hospitals to support the state’s food producers and fishermen through increased institutional purchasing

$10,700 to the Rhode Island Shellfishermen’s Association to produce an educational video on how to become a commercial shellfisherman in Rhode Island and create an apprenticeship program to match Rhode Islanders with professional shellfishermen, with the goal of engaging youth and young people in the shellfishing sector

$20,000 to the South County Food Co-op in South Kingstown for the South County Farm to Market Initiative, expanding farmer access to the Co-op’s certified commercial kitchen to prepare foods for wholesale sales, and enabling local farmers to serve more CSA customers through the Co-op

$13,728 to the Local Catch in Charlestown to establish a fish-smoking operation specifically utilizing RI-landed seafood, with an emphasis on increasing sales of underutilized species which are landed in high volume at the Point Judith port but have had weak consumer demand

$8,090 to Thundermist Health Center in South Kingstown to institute SNAP and credit card access, as well as SNAP and WIC incentives at a minimum of three farmers’ markets in Washington County

$20,000 to Tilted Barn Brewery in Exeter to make improvements to the barn brewery, expand hop production, and host a workshop during the hop harvest to provide information to other farmers in RI who are interested in growing crops to support the expanding craft beer industry, or plan to start their own farm brewery

$20,000 to Wild Harmony Farm in Exeter to purchase an insulated trailer with freezer compressor and generator to enable the transportation of frozen meat from certified butchers back to farms, as well as the transport of whole animal carcasses from the slaughterhouse directly to local restaurants utilizing whole animals

LASA 2014
  • $20,000 to RI Seafood Marketing Collaborative’s statewide seafood branding and marketing campaign
  • $8,089 to Adam Yorks of Little Compton to install a root zone heating system into a high tunnel to extend the growing season of his farm
  • $17,000 to Big Train Farm/Urban Edge Producer Collaborative in North Scituate to make improvements to the wash-station and increase efficiencies at the 7 small farms in the collaborative
  • $16,000 to Brown Family Seafood in West Kingston to change their distribution process to increase marketing, traceability and understanding for RI consumers about local seafood
  • $10,000 to Garden Time to start an herb garden and gardening/healthy eating educational program at the Adult Correctional Institute medium security facility in Cranston
  • $5,000 to Jamestown Oyster Company for materials used to increase oyster harvest
  • $9,975 to Katie Miller/Ben Torpey of Scratch Farm in Cranston to expand the production and marketing capacity of Small State Seeds, a seed breeding and marketing project for chemical-free, RI-grown vegetable, herb and flower seeds
  • $9,693 to Little City Growers Cooperative in Providence to expand sales, develop a unique brand and implement new marketing strategies and resources
  • $13,648 to Newport Harbor Corporation in Newport to promote increased consumption of top neck clams, a locally harvested and under-utilized sea clam
  • $13,480 to Red Planet Vegetable Farm in Johnston for farm improvements that will increase crop production and reduce labor costs while incorporating green energy into farm operations
  • $10,000 to RI Mushroom Company in West Kingston for a second mushroom grow house to cultivate specialty mushrooms
  • $7,925 to RI Shellfisherman’s Association to produce three PSAs highlighting commercial shellfishing and local shellfish available to RI consumers
  • $11,000 to Sidewalk Ends Farm in Providence for farm equipment and cold storage system infrastructure to grow their business
  • $16,400 to Snake Den Farm in Johnston for equipment to support the creation of a farmer/producer coop/community farm
  • $7,500 to the Local Catch in Narragansett to increase the presence of RI seafood at RI farmers markets, increase Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs), improve brand awareness of RI-landed seafood and launch a web-based distribution channel
  • $14,450 to Urban Greens Food Co-op in Providence to utilize professional design services for the layout of an urban retail grocer with a focus on equal access, sustainably-sourced and local food
  • $19,870 for the Young Farmer Network to expand Young Farmer Nights programming, develop the Short Courses curriculum and to enhance outreach efforts