(Lenexa, Kan., May 14, 2020) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service, is announcing that the York County Development Corporation in York, Nebraska, is one of 16 organizations across the nation to receive assistance to help boost economic opportunities for their local farmers, while promoting clean air, safe water, open space, and healthy food choices.
The York County Development Corporation will engage the community as they develop a revitalization plan for green space in the downtown farmers market area. This plan will help residents find opportunities to grow and provide local food, especially local produce and value-added agriculture products.
“The Trump administration is committed to helping communities develop and strengthen their local food economy by investing in Opportunity Zones in often underprivileged communities, some of which have been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Support for local food initiatives can improve access to fresh foods, support farmers, grow new businesses, keep Americans healthy, and improve the environment.”
Nearly all communities selected include Opportunity Zones, in support of President Trump’s Executive Order 13853. The assistance is provided through the Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP) program, a federal initiative that helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods and improve quality of life through the sustainable development of their local food economy.
"The York County Development Corporation's project will meaningfully contribute to York’s vision for revitalization, including planning for green space around the downtown farmers market," said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. "EPA's work with partners like the County Development Corporation is intended to revitalize lands and communities. We’re glad to be part of the work in York."
The selected communities will get access to a team of federal, state and regional agricultural, environmental, public health, architectural, and economic development experts to help develop an action plan, set goals, and identify local assets that can support the local food economy and contribute to downtown and neighborhood revitalization.
“The Local Foods, Local Places has become even more important than when we applied for the program,” said Lisa Hurley, executive director of York County Development Corporation. “The technical assistance provided will become pivotal as we move forward past COVID-19.”
EPA will be flexible in working with these communities on next steps for their planned projects, as necessary, considering that many communities are still dealing with issues related to COVID-19.