PORTLAND OR ⏤ The Steward Foundation, along with three key industry partners⏤Oregon Aquaculture Association (OAA), Northwest Aquaculture Alliance (NWAA), California Aquaculture Association (CAA)⏤recently received a $197,000 grant as a 2021 awardee of the USDA Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). Steward and its partner organizations will use the funding to plan for a Pacific Aquaculture Marketing & Innovation Center (PAMIC).
Aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing food-producing subsectors globally, yet the United States has fallen behind, ranking 17th globally in terms of production. The U.S. also imports up to 90% of its total seafood consumption. Moreover, the entire west coast of the U.S. is home to only 9% of all aquaculture farms in the county.
With the grant, the group aims to address this disadvantage by creating a world-class aquaculture hub that brings together farmers, value-added food producers, distributors, and retailers from across the region. Establishing the center will provide infrastructure and capacity to drive new aquaculture business formation, accelerate market growth, create jobs, and establish robust supply chain infrastructure to serve a diverse consumer base.
“Our vision is for a unique center that focuses on innovations that are as much for seafood marketing, including culinary options, and adult education and outreach as they are for the technologies, economics, and impacts of production or the policies and regulations governing these operations.” John Moehl, Advisor to the Oregon Aquaculture Association and aquaculture development specialist.
As a planning grant, the PAMIC implementation study will chart the necessary actions and measures for the center to become a reality. Specific activities will include cataloguing stakeholder priorities and challenges that can be addressed by the center, identifying the physical infrastructure requirements for assorted center functions, and elaborating business and marketing plans for the launching of the center.
The Steward Foundation, which provides charitable funding to regenerative farmers as low-interest or subordinated capital also offers other agricultural support services, including grant writing and project management. In this capacity, the foundation will oversee and coordinate the PAMIC project to ensure it fulfills all grant goals and obligations.
“This was a unique opportunity to go beyond traditional financing to help make this exciting new project happen, says Ryan Anderson, executive director of The Steward Foundation. “We were thrilled to see such broad support for a Pacific Aquaculture Marketing & Innovation Center and we’re excited to work closely with the west coast aquaculture community to make progress toward realizing their vision.”
Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) is a grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS). In 2021, it awarded $37,544,466.62 to 84 recipients. LFPP funding goes to projects that develop, improve, and expand local and regional food business intermediary supply chain activities, including processing, distribution, aggregation, and storage of locally or regionally produced food products. The program intends to create economic opportunities for producers, increase access to fresh, healthy food for consumers, and connect rural and urban communities across the country.
About The Steward Foundation
The Steward Foundation fights for equitable and regenerative agriculture by building healthy farmland and resilient communities. We target our support to the farmers working day in and day out to transform agriculture because we believe that lasting change grows from the ground up. By partnering with leaders throughout the food movement we advance the large-scale systemic changes needed to repair the environmental and social damage done by conventional commodity production.
Launched in 2019, The Steward Foundation is sponsored by Steward, a certified B-Corp providing private commercial loans and the expert support services regenerative farmers and food producers need to expand and sustain their businesses. Learn more at gosteward.org