• 54°

City receives EPA assistance for expanding food access in downtown

By Liz Moomey


SALISBURY — To boost availability of fresh food in downtown Salisbury, the city was awarded federal assistance Thursday through the Local Foods, Local Places program.

The program, through U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture, will help Salisbury develop a common, goal for the community by providing with $25,000 in technical assistance, a workshop and identifying local assets to support the local food economy, according to EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. Salisbury was one of 16 recipients nationwide to receive the assistance of the more than 100 applications.

The city will focus on strengthening small retail business activity and downtown revitalization by exploring co-operative opportunities beyond a seasonal, outdoor farmers market model.

Mayor Karen Alexander said moving the Salisbury Farmers Market to downtown was a success. Last week, it opened for the first time at its new location at a newly constructed pavilion on Kerr Street. The assistance will capitalize on the already existing project.

“This will just further that activity in support opportunities for our citizens to have access to fresh foods,” Alexander said.

A co-op market store is one of the visions Alexander has for the award, which aims to provide access to fresh foods in neighborhoods like Park Avenue, North Main and downtown.

The program will begin in summer or early fall, starting with workshops to gauge the community’s needs for access to local foods. The program has no set expiration date.

Together local stakeholders and the team of federal, state and regional experts in agriculture, environment, public health, architecture and economic development will develop a plan that improves access to fresh foods, support farmers, grow new businesses, keep people healthy and improve the environment, Walker said.

The program will also link the farming community to the urban community, Walker added.

Those local partners will include the Farmers Market committee, Downtown Salisbury Inc., Rowan EDC, Healthy Rowan, Novant Health and Rowan County Cooperative Extension.

“It’s very much community-driven,” Walker said.

The selected community is in an opportunity zone — low-income census tracts or low-income adjacent tracts where qualified investors receive tax benefits.

“The Trump Administration is committed to helping communities develop and strengthen their local food economy by investing in opportunity zones in often under privileged communities, some of which have been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a news release. “Support for local food initiatives can improve access to fresh foods, support farmers, grow new businesses, keep Americans healthy and improve the environment.”

The technical assistance process is structured to three pre-workshop calls with the committee, a community workshop, three post-workshop calls and the delivery of the final action plan. The report determines the end of the assistance with the committee and contractors

The Local Foods, Local Places announcement comes a week after the EPA awarded the city a Brownfields grant to clean up the old Kesler Mill site, another funding goal of the city.

“We’ve checked off a bunch of that list,” Alexander said.

Walker said the city has a strong local vision and the EPA is happy to support it.


High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title


Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game


County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money


Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury


At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’


COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary


More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot


City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year


Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots


Quotes of the week


Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days


Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site


City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide


City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras


Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week


Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant




Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers


COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight


Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’


West Rowan Middle eighth grader wins investment writing contest


YSUP Rowan invites agencies to participate in youth-focused training