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Youngstown is Among 26 Communities to Win a National Contest - The Vindicator

The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., along with other local organizations, was named one of only 26 nationwide winners of a “Local Foods, Local Places” federal competition to help revitalize the city’s economy through local food-system development.

Officials from the federal Appalachian Regional Commission, the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency will be at the Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator, 907 Elm St., at 3:30 p.m. today to make the announcement about all of the winners. The 26 winners were chosen from 316 applicants.

YNDC and the other organizations will benefit from workshops with federal officials to discuss how local food can spur economic development in the city, a report with recommendations as to how those proposals can be done, and $20,000 to begin to implement some of the recommended projects.

“It’s quite an honor to be selected among only 26 winners,” said Louis Segesvary, an ARC spokesman. “Youngstown is rebounding. It’s diversifying its economy, and this is one notable way” that process is being helped.

The report should be done by the middle of next year with the implementation to follow, said Liberty Merrill, YNDC’s land reuse director.

“This will help our efforts to use local foods to help reinvigorate the economy,” she said.

Some of the other local organizations involved are the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, and the Mahoning Valley Food Coalition, which includes Common Wealth Inc., Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, Grow Youngstown, Goodness Grows, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and the Ohio State University Extension’s Mahoning County office.

“This will increase the economic opportunities for local farmers and food producers and provide healthy food to those in the inner city,” said Kathy Zook, Eastgate’s program manager. “We are really pleased that we were selected, as only 26 were chosen nationwide.”

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