LASA Grants Program

LASA 2018

The application is OPEN for the LASA Grants Program 2018, and available here

Applications are due by 11:59 pm on March 1, 2018.

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.

Click here for online application

**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 (available here), or a read-only pdf document (available here).

If you use this option, you must print out the application and mail or hand-deliver it by March 1, 2018, to the Division of Agriculture office: 235 Promenade Street, Room #370, Providence, RI 02908.

Hand-delivered and mailed applications must be received at the RI DEM Division of Ag office by March 1, 2018, during normal working hours, 8:30am-4pm. Please note that the Division of Agriculture office closes 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 dates in coming weeks via the Food Policy Council email listserve, and social media.


February 13, 2018, 6-7:30pm, at RI Farm Bureau: register and details here

February 15, 2018, 6:30-8pm, at Rochambeau Library: register and details here

February 20, 2018, 5:30-7pm, at Social Enterprise Greenhouse * flash feedback session, special preparation required*: register and details here

Thank you to all the partners helping coordinate and host these TA sessions!

Please click here to view the Q & A from previous years’ 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 LASA Showcase Booklets from previous years:

2014 LASA Showcase

2015 LASA Showcase

2016 LASA Showcase

2017 LASA Showcase – in development


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 2018 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 Grant Recipients

The 2017 grant recipients were announced at the Ag Day speaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 17, with Governor Raimondo serving as the keynote speaker for the event. The applications were awarded a total of $230,000 in LASA funds.

The 2017 grant recipients are:

Brandon Family Farm (Narragansett), $5,229, to establish a commercial scale orchard of the pawpaw fruit. Brandon Family Farm is a certified organic farm that grows diversified vegetables and small fruit.  This proposed orchard would consist of rows of grafted seedlings.  By planting a mixture of herbaceous native plants between the rows of pawpaw trees, a pollinator habitat will also be created, benefitting the entire farm.

Robert Payne and Camille Abdel-Nabi (Wakefield), $3,500, to purchase materials for caterpillar tunnels, temporary hoop houses that are built over crops in the field for season extension.  Robert and Camille run Little River Farm, and they expect the tunnels will allow them to supply the Aquidneck Growers winter market with fresh, organic produce.  They also plan to share their knowledge with other farmers as they develop, through experience, best practices for design and use of the tunnels.

Jordan Goldsmith & Melissa Denmark (Cranston), $6,362, to build a mobile walk-in cooler in an enclosed trailer for Moonrose Farm.  The mobility of the cooler will allow them future use not tied to a specific parcel of land, and facilitate future collaboration with other growers and producers.  In addition, the cooler will provide the farm a route to reduce food waste, as they may store extra product from their CSA, giving a second chance at marketing leftover produce.

Westbay Community Action (Warwick), $4,510, to obtain cold storage for Westbay Farm and develop a new farmstand.  The farmstand will not only help support the farm but will also provide local produce to the area. Westbay Farm uses organic methods to grow vegetables are distributed for free, the majority of which are distributed for free to families visiting the Marketplace (RI’s third largest food pantry).  Cold storage enables them to more efficiently harvest and distribute produce, minimizing waste and maximizing year-round access.

Hocus Pocus Farm, Sophie Soloway and Courtney Sartini (Chepachet), $6,578, to purchase equipment and supplies for transition to no-till model.  Sophie and Courtney  plan to transition Hocus Pocus Farm to a highly productive no-till growing model with a focus on restaurant-quality greens. Based on trial runs, they expect the no-till methods to better preserve soil structure, reduce the need for irrigation, reduce pest pressure, reduce labor inputs, and increase their ability to grow high-value greens.

Benjamin Coerper (Exeter), $11,600, to acquire new egg washing machine to expand efficiency of washing and size of flock.  Benjamin runs Wild Harmony Farm, and hopes to expand their laying chicken flock and marketing avenues. He will build a facility to house the egg washer and anticipates being able to share use of the equipment with other egg producers nearby.

Northern RI Conservation District (Johnston), $19,613, to go toward staff support for management and expansion of new farm operations at Snake Den Farm. Northern RI Conservation District partnered with DEM to manage Snake Den Farm as a way to increase agricultural opportunities for small and beginning farmers.  With LASA funding, Snake Den Farm plans to expand the ability of the farm manager to assist new farmers, adding two to three new farm operations in 2018.

Anna Jane Kocon (Portsmouth), $8,949, to develop infrastructure for expanded flower production.  Anna Jane runs Little State Flower Company,  which specializes in farming Rhode Island, sustainably grown, premium cut flowers and plants with a  focus on soil health and organic practices.  In the past year Little State Flower Co. has rapidly grown, and LASA funds will allow them to expand and meet the demand by supporting the purchase of mobile sheds and a cooler.

Drake Patten/Hurricane Hill Farm Collaborative (Cranston), $19,836, to build a greenhouse and develop utilities infrastructure to share with tenant farms that are part of the collaborative.  Hurricane Hill Farm plans to construct a shared greenhouse in an area of the farm that is not suitable for agriculture, and well suited for support buildings.  The Farm’s organizing focus is on the development as a resource for other farmers as well as the public, and developing this and additional utilities infrastructure will help further this important mission.

Patrick McNiff (East Greenwich), $12,500, to support purchase of a new chicken coop that increases efficiency of labor for egg collecting, feeding, watering, and moving of coops necessary for rotational grazing while decreasing feed waste and still maintaining a humane way to raise chickens on pasture. They hope to educate other farms on the use of this system as an opportunity for others to improve their operations.

Loubnen Sukkar & Matthew McClelland (Warwick), $6,890, to build and expand greenhouse production for the Backyard Food Company. The Backyard Food Company plans to construct a second greenhouse to augment their current and existing greenhouse which is currently used to grow peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, herbs, and cucumbers.  As the Backyard Food Company grows,  they plan to scale up their production of vegetables to meet the demand for more of their exciting condiments and salsa, thanks to the LASA funding for an additional greenhouse.

Sanctuary Teas and Herbs (Providence), $12,160, Sanctuary Teas and Herbs requested funds to support growing, processing, and selling a unique line of locally-sourced fresh and dried high quality products while also offering training, new markets, employment, and peer-support for refugee farmers. Sanctuary intends to partner with Rhode Island’s refugee farmers from countries around the world to offer a line of tisanes that enhance health, comfort, and peace.

Charlie Chase (Coventry), $3,000, for an improved parking lot and flow for customers for sugar shack education programs. Charlie Chase has a sugar house where he can provide tours of how he makes maple syrup.  He intends for the tours to be open to school groups and the public, but before he hosts these tours, he plans to use LASA funds to put in a concrete parking lot – so that no one else will get stuck in the mud!

West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation (Providence), $17,015, for cold storage units to extend post-harvest life of produce grown at Sankofa Community Farm.  In recent years, WEHDC has provided land and other resources to three community gardens, allowing local families to grow their own food. As Sankofa Farm and community gardens continue to grow, they have seen an emerging need for infrastructure such as cold storage.  The cold storage units both minimize produce spoilage and waste, while also providing more opportunities for food access.

Jerusalem Shellfish Co., LLC (Ashaway), $10,000, to refurbish walk-in cooler and icemaker for shellfish temperature control.  The additional space will provide room to install a 1 ton per day ice machine, and a separate cooler space will expand cooling and storage capacity for ice at the OSSC facility. Making and storing ice will allow flexibility for ice access outside of specific business hours.

Walrus and Carpenter Oysters LLC (Narragansett), $12,000, for expansion of sugar kelp hatchery.  WCO became the first commercial sea vegetable farm in Rhode Island in 2015.  In 2016 They successfully sold their Cabbages and Kings Sugar Kelp” to local chefs. WCO’s LASA-funded nursery expansion will allow them to seed their existing farm in Narragansett Bay, expand to create  new larger farm in New Hope Bay, and provide seed lines for additional partner farms.

Ocean State Oyster Hatchery (Wakefield), $9,000, for commercial-grade generator to ensure back-up power for oyster hatchery.  By pursuing this project, OSOH hopes to safeguard against power outages, ensuring the survival of oysters and phytoplankton, which need continuous aeration, water exchange, and light. OSOH aims to fill the need for local seed, as well as supply the only truly local Rhode Island seed stock.

Stesha Campbell and Ian Campbell (Narragansett), $15,072, for branding and HACCP plan for Mooresfield Oyster Farm, Point Judith Pond. With better branding, including company specific retail packaging, Mooresfield Oyster Farm hopes to distinguish its product and reach higher sales volumes.  The creation of a HACCP plan allows them to expand into further markets, including to local restaurants.

Rhode Island Shellfisherman’s Association (Coventry), $1,931 for upweller repair to support wild oyster production.  RISA has partnered with RWU and DEM to grow oyster and clam seed for public enhancement.  The LASA project upgrades their upwelled to be able to handle the amount of seed that RISA will be purchasing.

Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (Saunderstown), $18,255, to develop an educational opportunity for culinary professionals and create RI seafood guide.  CFRF plans to host education in collaboration with Chef Derek Wagner from Nick’s on Broadway, with the aim of familiarizing participants with he fish and shellfish harvested by RI fishermen provide context and appreciation for harvesting practices, and provide instructions for sourcing local seafood for businesses and institutions. The hope is that the project will result in an increase of the utilization of local seafood in the Rhode Island food system.

Captain David Blaney, Founder of Point Judith Kelp Company (Narragansett), $6,000, for wild seaweed harvest and creation of value-added consumer products using seaweed.  The marketing campaign would be aimed at introducing Rhode Island consumers to sea vegetables and their uses.  For those who don’t want to eat sea vegetables, seaweed based cosmetic products are a hoped for consumer product line as well.

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


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