Providence aims to provide every resident with access to safe, affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food, and cultivate a healthy environment by adopting ecologically sound and sustainable practices and ensuring fair working conditions.
Providence is part of a local and regional food system and has a critical role to play in ensuring that this system: A) Provides every Providence resident with access to safe, affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food; B) Cultivates a healthy food environment in Providence by, adopting ecologically sound and sustainable practices, and ensuring healthy, fair, and just working conditions and wages; and C) Contributes to the state and city economies by supporting long-term economic development opportunities in the food sector.
How Will We Get There?
Production: Encourage and promote appropriately scaled agriculture production to meet the needs of residents.
Processing: Utilize existing manufacturing facilities and create new infrastructure to make Providence a major food processing hub for the New England region.
Distribution: Utilize existing distribution infrastructure and create new distribution models to make Providence a major aggregation and distribution hub for the New England region.
Consumption: Increase consumption of local and healthy food produced in ways that are ecologically-sound and provide fair and just working conditions and wages.
Growing Your Own Food
The way we grow food can either help or hurt the environment and ourselves. Anyone can grow food in Providence. Don’t have a backyard or garden? Start growing indoors or explore one of the many community gardens in Providence.
You can also check out Southside Community Land Trusts‘ many farmer training programs to help get you started. Already growing? Expand your skills with the University of Rhode Island Master Gardner program.
Supporting Local Growers & Producers
Farmers markets operate all year long in Providence (and just over the line in Pawtucket). Farmers markets and community supported agriculture and fisheries organizations (CSA/CSF) often showcase responsibly grown and/or organic produce, you can talk directly to the farmer and local produce tends to be healthier for you than produce that is refrigerated and shipped long distances. Buying local also helps support the local economy and greatly reduces the carbon footprint of your food.
Food Access at Farmers Markets
Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s Bonus Bucks program increases the spending power of shoppers using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at farmers markets by providing a 100% match on grocery purchases to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s double the SNAP dollars to spend at the farmers market!
Food on the Move makes healthy food accessible and affordable. Their mobile produce market brings fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods throughout Rhode Island and lowers the cost of healthy food by providing a 50% discount on produce purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) dollars.
Farm to School Providence
Providence’s Healthy Communities Office and partners are working on a Farm to School initiative for the Providence Public Schools. Updates coming soon.