COHASSET – The state has awarded more than $500,000 in grants to South Shore food producers to help with food security in the region.
The grants were given to South Shore businesses and organizations as part of a state program that tries to ensure equitable access to food and prevent food supply issues.
“Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen food insecurity intensify across the commonwealth,” state Sen. Patrick O’Connor, R-Weymouth, said in a statement. “This funding will allow our local fishing, farming and assistance organizations on the South Shore to provide a wider variety of fresh food at a lower cost to residents.”
State Rep. Joan Meschino, D-Hull, said a lack of fresh, local food is a pressing issue across the state.
The program sent $243,250 to Mullaney's Fish Market to partner with XII Northeast Fishery Sector and to Friends of South Shore Seafood Development, which will use the money to buy equipment to increase their overall processing capacity.
Mullaney's runs a fish market on Chief Justice Cushing Highway in Cohasset and a second retail location with a processing plant in Scituate Harbor.
Cohasset's Friends of Holly Hill Farm got $31,057 to help buy a high tunnel – a device that covers plants – and a greenhouse to improve the farm’s ability to grow seedlings year-round.
In Duxbury, The Outreach Program got $35,000 to buy a new van to bring ingredients and packaged meals to food pantries and homeless shelters.
The fishing boat Phoenix in Marshfield got $45,000 to upgrade its fish detection technology and to buy new, low-environmental-impact fishing gear to harvest underused types of fish that are cheaper for consumers.
The Marshfield Farmers' Market got nearly $900 to expand virtual components of the market, which allow for online ordering, pickup and local food distribution.
In Scituate, the Motor Vessel Yankee Rose Inc. and the fishing boat Cheryl Ann each got $82,600 to buy fish processing equipment.