Sainato: $38,300 grant to fund Healthy Start facility with focus on agriculture

NEW CASTLE, Oct. 2 – Area mothers and children will benefit from a Healthy Start facility with urban agriculture as the cornerstone, thanks to a $38,300 grant, according to state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence.

The funding – part of the first round of Pennsylvania Farm Bill grants – will allow Lawrence County Social Services to purchase a hydroponic system, in which plants are grown in a water-based nutrient-rich solution, along with building materials and education supplies.

Healthy, thriving mothers and children are essential to the future of our community, and programs that protect maternal and infant well-being while also teaching life-sustaining skills are incredibly valuable because they promote self-reliance," Sainato said.

“By focusing on agriculture and providing hands-on experience in farming urban gardens, the Healthy Start program funded by this grant will teach parents and kids that they have the ability, not just to understand the basics of nutrition, but to grow their own nutritious foods. Even more important, it will teach them that they have the power to improve their lives through their own efforts. It plants the seeds for a healthier, more self-sufficient community.”

Sainato said the grant money comes from the Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program and is part of a $500,000 package of funding to benefit 28 projects in various counties statewide. The program is part of the state’s first Pennsylvania Farm Bill.

The Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program is awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and all grants are approved by the Secretary of the Department. Sainato serves on the board of Lawrence County Social Services and was not involved in awarding the grant.