BELFAST — Maine Farmland Trust will receive a $249,816 federal grant to increase access to fruits and vegetables for food insecure Mainers while also benefiting small and mid-sized farmers in the region.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture funded 31 projects in 26 states through its Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant Program.

MFT’s project will focus on providing nutrition incentives to local food stores throughout Maine in an effort to connect low-income consumers to local farm products. This will simultaneously boost local farm sales while improving access to nutritious food for low-income Mainers.

The total economic impact to Maine’s farmers will be about $1 million in sales over the next three years.

MFT is also a subgrantee of another $3.77 million grant with national nonprofit Wholesome Wave.  MFT will work with a number of other Maine partners to implement incentive programs at markets throughout the state, including Cultivating Community, Food and Medicine, Healthy Acadia, Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, and St. Mary’s Nutrition Center.

Maine Farmland Trust will implement incentive programs at at least 11 retail outlets in Maine. Through Maine Farmland Trust and other Maine partners, Wholesome Wave will implement incentives at 74 markets.

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