FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A local coalition aimed at creating new agricultural innovations in the Central Valley was recently awarded $88.1 million in federal funds.
The Fresno-Merced Future of Food Initiative, also known as F3, was the only recipient in the country out of more than 500 applicants to get two federal grants aiming to provide sustainable food production in the Central Valley.
“It’s a land of contrasts, largest food production in the country, maybe the world but yet extreme poverty and challenges with food deserts,” says Congressman Jim Costa.
The day started with a tour of the Yo’ville Community Garden and Farm, which provides residents in this neighborhood access to land so they can eventually sell their produce and have a source of income.
“Unfortunately there are a lot. Access to land is a huge problem with that, and also the resources you need to get something like this really going,” says Rasheed Hislop, a farm-to-market specialist at Community Alliance of Family Farmers (CAFF).
Officials also toured the old Bank of Italy building in Downtown Fresno, which will be the official site of iCREATE, the headquarters of F3.
“In this building, you’re gonna see the services and information being provided,” says Senator Alex Padilla.
The 45,000-square-foot building will house a food hall, conference room, and robotics incubators which are expected to be completed by the end of next year.
“The location is not a coincidence, right in the heart of Fresno, not too far from where the high-speed rail that will be coming,” says Padilla.