Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan Tours Brattleboro Food Co-op's New Construction
BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – September 27, 2011 - Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today visited the Brattleboro Food Co-op to view first-hand efforts to provide economic opportunities and direct markets for 146 local farmers and 56 local food manufacturers who are working hard to rebound from the recent disasters in Southern Vermont.
"The Brattleboro Food Co-op and Windham-Windsor Housing bring value to the downtown community with the creativity of combining the food co-op with affordable housing for the residents of Brattleboro," said Merrigan. "USDA is privileged to be a partner in supporting the expansion of this partnership that will promote the vitality of the Brattleboro region while providing important markets for the agricultural community."
Deputy Secretary Merrigan toured the construction of the four-story building which supports local food initiatives and also promotes sustainable community principles. USDA is supporting the project with a Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan of $4.2 million for the co-op portion of the development. The Brattleboro Food Co-op, is located on the first floor. The second floor will house its offices, deli commissary (kitchen), a community room, and demonstration kitchen. Windham-Windsor Housing will own the 3rd and 4th floors. This part of the new building will integrate affordable housing into the downtown community center thereby increasing community vitality.
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).