Grown Here at Home: Franklin County canneries to get upgrade before July opening
FRANKLIN CO., Va. (WDBJ) - The Callaway and Glade Hill canneries in Franklin County have been in operation for 80 years. Before the summer canning season kicks off, they’ll be getting new boilers.
The canneries are owned by Franklin County Public Schools. but supported by the Board of Supervisors. Last year, former Governor Ralph Northam signed House Bill 2068, creating the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund Infrastructure Grant Program, or AFID. The program awards matching grants of up to $25,000 in partnership with local governments.
“This is really meant to go to invest in projects that would support the local agriculture infrastructure, so things like community canneries, and meat processing, and farmers’ markets, and those types of projects,” explained Brad Copenhaver, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The county applied for the AFID grant and received the maximum amount.
“The Board of Supervisors had appropriated $100,000 to the project, because the total cost of this project is $98,000,” said Jason Guilliams, director of operations for Franklin County Public Schools.
In the next couple months, a new boiler will be installed at each cannery.
“Agriculture is by far the largest private industry in Virginia, and I think the pandemic really showed us that a lot of folks wanted to have more of a connection with their local food systems,” Copenhaver said.
People are getting a lot of good use out of both canneries.
“We had close to about 900 patrons last year. Our canneries operate from July to December, two days a week at each site,” Guilliams said.
Another AFID grant application period is happening now until May 15th. Grant recipients will be announced by June 30.
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