Providence, RI- Mayor Jorge O.
Elorza today announced that the Providence Business Loan Fund (PBLF) has closed
an $850,000 acquisition loan to Farm Fresh RI for the purchasing of a 3.2-acre
site at 498 Kinsley Avenue. The loan is helping realize a food and agriculture
campus and aligns with Mayor Elorza’s urban food economic development strategy
that leverages resources to expand not only restaurants, but promote light food
manufacturing, distribution, startups, food technology, and urban production in
“This loan is an exciting milestone
in my administration's restructuring of the former Providence Economic
Development Program,” said Mayor Elorza. “Our support for Farm Fresh RI is part
of our urban food strategy where the proceeds will transform a former
industrial site, now vacant, to a new vibrant space bringing together food and
The Farm Fresh business model and
ethos is built on locally-sourced food. The Kinsley site will accommodate
Farm Fresh’s expansion as the demand for locally-sourced food continues to
grow. Plans for the site call for a new sustainable structure to replace the
former industrial fabrication facility that was destroyed by a fire in 2015.
The campus will complement the art, craft, and design businesses concentrated
in the Valley neighborhood of Providence.
“Early on support of this magnitude
from the City of Providence represents a strong endorsement of the Farm Fresh
RI Hub and its ability to strengthen our local and regional food system,”
declared Sheri Griffin, Farm Fresh RI Co-Director.
In addition to the PBLF, City
resources encompassed in the food and economic development strategy include
Property Tax Stabilization agreements, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
funds, investment from the Providence Redevelopment Agency, and support from
the Partnership for Greater Providence, an economic development 501c3 formed by
the City and supported by Commerce Rhode Island through a food cluster grant.
Further, the City worked closely with Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation
to secure a $600,000 U.S. Economic Development Agency grant for the American
Tourister site. This brownfield site in Wanskuck is targeted as a food
industrial park to bring light manufacturing back to Providence.
“Consumers continue to demand healthier, sustainably
produced and locally sourced food giving Providence an economic opportunity
that plays to its strengths,” said Economic Development Director Mark Huang.
“The PBLF loan to Farm Fresh is an example of the City seizing an opportunity
to strategically create employment for residents, provide healthier food for
communities, stimulate the local economy, and reduce its environmental