CLiCK wins nearly $200K food vision prize

DECEMBER 28 — Willimantic — With the help of nearly $200,000 in the New England Food Vision Award from the Henry P. Kendall Foundation in Boston, staff at a commercial licensed communal kitchen plan to build a processing space. We are.

CLiCK executive director Leigh Duffy said the project is the first of a three-phase plan to expand the facility. The entire expansion of the facility at 41 Club Road in Wyndham will cost approximately $1.7 million. The first phase involves building areas for food processing and packaging. Duffy said the project will cost about $800,000.

The Foundation’s awards were announced in October.

Duffy said CLICK staff have been talking to local farmers about their needs since the facility opened in 2015, and farmers have expressed a desire to have more locations for small-batch processing.

“The closest ones are 60 to 80 miles away,” she said, noting the economic impact of the trip.

Farmers must have a minimum of about 1,000 pounds of produce to process at these locations, Duffy said. A feasibility study was recently carried out on an expansion plan involving the expansion of the kitchen space and the construction of a processing space.

CLICK staff is in the process of signing a contract with a design firm for a processing space project.

“We hope to begin construction in early summer and complete at that stage in early 2024,” Duffy said.

CLICK’s proposal is one of eight funded proposals and one of 24 submitted to the New England Food Vision Prize competition run by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation.

According to the foundation’s website, the foundation provides support to “organizations and leaders seeking to increase the production and consumption of sustainably grown and harvested foods in New England.”

Awards ranging from $25,000 to $200,000 are awarded through this program.

In a press release issued in October when CLiCK’s awards were announced, Heather Plourde, Director of Food and Hospitality Services at EASTCONN, said many people want their local communities to produce fresh, nutritious food for their residents. said they were unaware of their struggle to ensure high-quality food.

“We don’t have transportation, we don’t have a corner bodega to run to and eat. People live miles away,” she said in a release. “Friday lunch is the last meal until Monday morning when students return to school.”

Duffy said the funding requirement would require CLiCK to sell produce to its education partner, EastConn, by the end of 2024.

“We were thrilled to partner with EastConn.

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