State Senator Joan V. Hartley (D-Waterbury) and Susan Pronovost, Executive Director of Brass City Harvest, today announced the Waterbury-based non-profit organization has been awarded a Farm Viability Grant from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. Brass City Harvest promotes healthy eating and sustainable agriculture, particularly within low income, high risk local neighborhoods.

Senator Hartley said the grant is made available through the Department of Agriculture’s Marketing Bureau; Susan Pronovost said the grant is worth $49,741.

“I’m delighted by this decision to approve Brass City Harvest’s grant application because since its inception in 2007, this organization has done a remarkable job helping underserved residents access fresh, healthy produce at farmers markets and through its homeless outreach program,” Senator Hartley said. “This state funding will advance the operation of Brass City Harvest and help it expand its education and outreach program, helping local residents in underserved neighborhoods by helping them learn about healthier lifestyles.”

Brass City Harvest currently operates a fledgling urban agriculture program on three parcels in Waterbury, using greenhouses and garden plots. Approximately half the proceeds from this grant would be used to augment the existing operation.

“Our plans to start up an incubator farm on a fourth parcel in the city’s North End are ready to be implemented, and now with this funding we’ll be able to farm twice as much land and double our crop yield as a result,” Executive Director Pronovost said. “The other half of this funding will help expand the capacity of our year ‘round indoor farmers market and help reach more area residents with the benefits of locally sourced foods.”

“We’re extremely grateful to Commissioner Reviczky and the other Department of Agriculture officials who favorably considered our application,” Pronovost added. “We appreciate the very competitive nature of these grant programs and know how scarce state funding has become – we’re pledged to make the most of this award and demonstrate how this seed money will be used to feed and nourish a socially disadvantaged local population.”