Root Cellar, a local food hub serving Columbia, Jefferson City, and Ashland, has been awarded a $588,000 three-year Local Food Promotion Program grant by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in collaboration with The Loop CID and Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri.
This grant will build local food system resilience and help our region adapt to market changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic by assisting regional growers with small-batch production, product distribution, and promotion. The CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen will play a key role in this effort.
The project will use technology tools and innovative strategies to improve the customer experience., creating the convenience consumers have come to expect while highlighting the farmer-to-customer connection. The collaborative will prioritize supporting farmers and entrepreneurs who have struggled to find a path to market, including minority and economically distressed producers.
Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri will lead the effort to organize local farmers and help tell the story of food production in the region.
The Loop CID will support local food artisans and entrepreneurs through the CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen and critical small business development services. A portion of the USDA grant will help underwrite kitchen fees for local famers starting small-batch production businesses.
The project will immediately create a new Distribution Coordinator position at Root Cellar and a Local Food System Coordinator position at Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid Missouri. The collaborative will host stakeholder discussions and provide community updates throughout the project.
CoMo Cooks is a shared commercial kitchen operated by The Loop CID as part of our work to increase economic vitality and create jobs. We provide accessible, inclusive, and affordable kitchen space for local food-based businesses along with business coaching and promotional assistance. Now, through a partnership with the Root Cellar and the Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri, we’re turning our attention to farmers and small-batch producers to help create locally made products.
Root Cellar is a small market making a big impact in our community. We curate local farm fresh foods with an authentic story and build personal relationships with each one of our farmers. Because of this, Root Cellar can provide the finest and freshest selection of Missouri's goods and produce.
Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri works to conserve the streams, forests, grasslands, and farmlands that represent our distinctive landscape for present and future generations. Our Working Lands Initiative focuses on the farmland component of our mission. Working lands are actively managed to provide for land-based livelihoods - food, flower and fiber farms, family forests, ranches, vineyards, and more. With thoughtful and sustainable management, these lands can support conservation values while contributing to a thriving rural economy and robust local food system.