Grant money helping Valley businesses provide more access to healthy food

ByAna Torea KFSN logo
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
Grant money helping Valley businesses provide access to healthy food
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is helping improve healthy food access to underserved communities.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Improving healthy food access to underserved communities.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture awarded $9 million to businesses across the state to help them provide people with locally grown fresh food, including some right here in the Central Valley.

Donald Sherman has been operating the Sherman Produce Market on Martin Avenue in southwest Fresno for two decades.

Almost everything he sells at his store is from his farm. He keeps some of his produce and products in this walk-in refrigerator. But when the summer heat rolls in, it's hard to keep some produce fresh.

"It's really tough when you can't offer all the things that are needed in the community," said Sherman.

Through the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Healthy Refrigeration Grant Program, his shop received more than $45,000 dollars in grant funding. Sherman started the application process for the grant one year ago.

When Sherman heard he had received the money, he felt relief.

"There's a list of equipment that's been established," said Sherman. "Five merchandising units, one vegetable case. Once all of that's in place, I hope to have everything up and running by the first of June."

The new refrigeration units will hold items like juice, milk, and eggs, just to name a few.

Sherman told Action News this is a big step in the right direction, not just for him but also for the people he serves.

Besides the Sherman Produce Market, the Fresno-based San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization received more than $283,000 in grant money to help the communities of Tulare and Kings Counties.

The organization will work with 21 different stores in these areas.

"We're looking at somewhere between $10,000 to $12,000 per store," said Courtney Kalashian, the Executive Director of SJVCEO. "We want to make sure that a majority of this funding is going into these stores so they can better serve their community."

Kalashian said it's about supporting small businesses through this grant. She adds they also want to help businesses reduce their energy costs.

"So that they can put more of their funding and their money into bringing fresh produce but that they're not penalized for doing it," said Kalashian. "This grant gave us a unique opportunity in which we can bring that to our store owners, our local businesses and communities as well."

MY Nasib Inc. also received close to $173,000 in grant funding.

Click here to see the full list of grant recipients.

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