Farm Fresh RI blog

Musings about locally grown food in the ocean state

Youth Art Show @ Wintertime Market

Next Wednesday, January 22nd, marks the 3rd annual Youth Art Show at the Wintertime Farmers Market in Pawtucket.  In addition to the vendors and irresistible winter produce, there will be edible art stations (you’re never too old to play with your food), youth musical performances, and an incredible walk-through art gallery featuring youth artists from across the state.  Bring the whole family for a night of fun and festivities to celebrate creativity, art, and, of course, food!  Both the market and art show run from 4-7pm.  See you there!

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Changing the Food System Starts in Your Kitchen

A guest blog from volunteer and Brown graduate student Susan Walker

Changing food systems means changing consumer habits.  

For me, that meant buying 106 pounds of grass-fed beef at once.  Geoff Beresford, Befesford of Tiverton, talked me into it.  I met him at the Sandywoods Farm Farmers’ Market in Tiverton, RI last winter. At the time, I would generally would just buy a few short ribs now and then from him.  I had made a commitment about 2 years ago to cut out as much commercial food from my diet as possible.  At this point, I now cook most of my food at home and I would estimate that 90%  of it is organic — and most of that is locally sourced.  

But I usually can’t afford the grass fed beef and free range chicken for sale at the farmers’ markets.  I can’t pay $12 for one steak. But Geoff worked on me week after week about his wholesale deal, and I decided it was worth the investment.  In July I put down a $100 deposit on half of a side of grass fed beef.  And I bought a freezer. I have a garden too, so I really wanted the freezer anyway – and I was able to get a nice little one from Sears for $325 delivered. Ok, the freezer actually hurt my wallet a little more than a grass fed steak. But right now it is full of local, delicious, safe, hormone and antibiotic-free beef for which I paid only $3.50 a pound.

That’s right.  $3.50 a pound.  

And I’m good for a year of meat. I think I’m going to have to try to eat it all in a year. I love making my family a completely locally-sourced meal, adding up what it costs per plate (I aim for under $5 per plate), and then guessing what they would charge in a restaurant.  And to top it off - next year I won’t even have the freezer as an expense.

Sometimes it seems really expensive to eat wholesome local food, but now that I’ve made it a life commitment, I’ve found ways to save.  It just means doing things differently.  

Meet our Fall Interns: Part 2

Our next intern began her time at Farm Fresh as a volunteer during the summer with Healthy Foods, Healthy Families working at the Slater Park and Armory Park markets.  She transitioned to an internship in the fall and has been instrumental both at the markets as well as behind-the-scenes in the office working on HFHF data entry, program planning, and development.  A senior at Providence College, here is our very own Alex Male.

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1) How did you hear about Farm Fresh RI?

I heard about Farm Fresh last winter when I visited the indoor market with my roommates.  I loved the market and definitely needed to purchase some Fresh Bucks during my visits.

2) What are some of the projects you have been working on at FFRI?

During the outdoor markets, I worked with Healthy Foods, Healthy Families at the Slater Memorial Park and Armory Park markets.  I also helped prep for the program and enter survey data.  Now that the market is indoors, I help with the tasting table on Wednesday evenings and I work at the Welcome Desk on Saturdays.

3) Does your volunteering at FFRI connect to your academics or future plans?

Volunteering at FFRI absolutely connects to my future plans.  I have been very interested in public health and more recently I’ve become interested in food access.  I would love to pursue a career in food policy or public health nutrition.

4) What do (did) you study in school?

I am a senior at Providence College studying Health Policy and Psychology.

5) What have you learned so far from volunteering here?

In my short time at Farm Fresh I have learned so much about problems with food access in Providence, ways to incentivize behavioral change, and the importance of educating children.  Seeing the change in some of the children’s willingness to try new foods was such a privilege to see!

6) What has been your favorite time/moment at FFRI (so far)?

My favorite moment at FFRI happened during one of the last weeks of HFHF.  One of the girls in the program came up to me and asked for advice on purple fruits and vegetables.  After I gave her some ideas, she told me she had been forgetful and needed to eat more purple fruits and vegetables.  We had talked about the importance of eating a variety of colors a few weeks earlier (and that purple fruits and veggies help our brains and memory) and I loved knowing that she remembered the lesson!

7) What’s your favorite vegetable?

That is such a hard choice, but I would probably have to say beets!

Farm Fresh reaches $100,000 Bonus Bucks Milestone

In October 2013, Farm Fresh Rhode Island distributed its 100,000th dollar to food stamp (SNAP) recipients to support the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets across Rhode Island!


Out of over 60 farmers markets in the state, Farm Fresh Rhode Island manages 9 summertime farmers markets plus the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market. All Farm Fresh Rhode Island markets accept SNAP benefits as a way of ensuring that all Rhode Island families are able to accept the delicious veggies, fruit, herbs, eggs, fish, meats and cheeses produced by our local farmers and fishermen. To increase the accessibility of our markets, Farm Fresh runs the “Bonus Bucks” program: for every $5 spent with EBT, customers receive a bonus $2 to spend on fruits and vegetables. Bonus Bucks are funded through individual, corporate, government, and foundation donations, from such organizations as Wholesome Wave, the Rhode Island Foundation, and the City of Providence.


Currently, less than 1% of all SNAP dollars in RI are spent at farmers markets. Bonus Bucks help attract SNAP shoppers to markets to help keep these federal dollars circulating in the local economy. Farm Fresh began the Bonus Buck program in the summer of 2009, when only about $10,000 were distributed. However, within the first year Bonus Bucks was implemented, Farm Fresh witnessed a 675% increase in the amount of SNAP spent at their markets. The program has since continued to grow exponentially. During the summer of 2013, FFRI processed more than $61,000 in SNAP benefits at its markets, up from $43,800 in summer 2012. This resulted in the distribution of nearly $25,000 of Bonus Bucks – money that goes directly into the pockets of local farmers and provides additional sustenance for families in need.


Unfortunately, this milestone coincides directly with drastic changes for SNAP recipients. Currently approximately 14% of U.S. households rely on food stamp benefits – nearly 47 million people, including 22 million children and 9 million elderly or disabled individuals. In Rhode Island, 17% of the population – 180,000 individuals – utilize SNAP benefits. On November 1, 2013, all SNAP recipients saw a significant decrease in their
benefits – approximately 5%. For example, a household with three people experienced a decrease of $29 per month – the equivalent of taking away 16 meals based on the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan. The decreases stem from the expiration of funds set aside in the 2009 Recovery Act – and amount to $5 billion per year.

Farm Fresh Rhode Island will continue to support access to healthy, local foods through all of its programs. Farm Fresh runs two markets a week throughout the winter where customers can use SNAP benefits and receive Bonus Bucks. FFRI also provides food to local food pantries and shelters in several ways – partnering with farmers to donate unsold produce at the end of market days and also donating unused produce from FFRI’s other programs.

Meet our Fall Interns: Part 1

This year, Farm Fresh RI has had the pleasure of hosting and working with numerous talented interns from local colleges and universities.  Summer notably brought the largest intern cohort but the fall season has been stacked with some all-star interns, as well.  Here’s a look at the fall intern team starting with Kalee Choiniere.

Chef Kalee is currently a Johnson & Wales student and the Healthy Foods, Healthy Families/Veggie Box culinary intern.

1) How did you hear about Farm Fresh Rhode Island?

Many Johnson & Wales chefs are firm believers in supporting fresh and local food so I had heard the name Farm Fresh quite a few times before going online and looking at the mission statement.  From there I became eager to be a part of their team.

2) What are some of the projects you have been working on at FFRI?

When I first started my internship at Farm Fresh I immediately began working with Healthy Foods, Healthy Families.  My job was to create simple but tasty treats for families to taste at the market and then recreate at home.  Also, I worked with Veggie Box doing demos at different local sites.  Using local vegetables and fruits from the current week’s veggie box, I created a recipe that incorporated the majority of the box.  I was able to talk to customers about the many ways to use different fruits and vegetables and show them that there are no errors in cooking.  It is important that people aren’t afraid of the vegetables they get from Veggie Box and that they can find multiple purposes for them in the kitchen.

3) Does your volunteering at FFRI connect to your academics or future plans?

Absolutely.  My goal for the next two years is to get accepted into the Nutrition program at Johnson & Wales.  Through Farm Fresh I was able to talk to local farmers and actually get hands on experience with local food.  I truly believe food is medicine and I believe that is one of the goals of Farm Fresh, to give the community local food to better their lives and our planet’s way of living as a whole.

4) What do (did) you study in school?

Right now I study Culinary Arts.  This spring I hope to continue working towards a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition.  Someday I hope to get a Master’s in Integrative Medicine.

5) What have you learned so far from volunteering here?

The most important thing I have learned is to have an open mind.  An open mind about food, about the local community, and the ways we go about our lives every day.  Taking small steps to conserve waste, eat locally, and take advantage of all things recyclable.  If everyone paid attention to their go-abouts we would be one step closer to a well-rounded community.

6) What has been your favorite time/moment at FFRI (so far)?

My favorite moment?  That’s too difficult to decide….One of the moments that has stuck out in my mind though is watching a little girl’s parents politely refuse to try baked parsnips because they were intimidated.  The little girl was hesitant to try them but did anyways and loved them!  There’s no better feeling than watching a 4 year old love the food you have prepared, and possibly getting her parents to have a more open-mind next time.

7) What is your favorite vegetable?

Another difficult question.  I love my veggies!  I couldn’t pick a favorite but I have to say since I started at Farm Fresh I have a serious appreciation for turnips.  They always intimidated me, I automatically put them in the category with all the scary vegetables from childhood.  One day I decided to roast one for the fun of it, just to give it a real try and I pretty much ended up eating the whole thing in one sitting.  I never realized how sweet they were! A perfect fit for so many recipes.

Harvest Kitchen visits Schartner Farms

Harvest Kitchen Session 9 made an historic visit out to Schartner Farms in Exeter RI on October 24th — our first Thursday of work for the new session.

After our production-heavy summer session we’re hoping to connect our incoming trainees with the farmers they support, and to begin learning of the important roll we, as Harvest Kitchen,  play in the larger system of local Rhode Island Food. Out in the gravel lot, with fields to reference on both sides, Rich Schartner painted for us his grand picture of local growers, processors and eaters.

“I don’t want this to be Anytown USA,” he said, “I want this to be Ourtown USA,” and somehow, amidst the bustle of late day shoppers at his farm stand where Harvest Kitchen products are featured prominently among so many other local offerings, it makes sense.  “You will never realize how important the work you are doing is to guys like me,” he continues, and our trainees from the Pawtucket Kitchen probably don’t, yet. Trainees at the Harvest Kitchen Rhode Island Training School, who have jarred almost 1000 jars of Rich’s tomato harvest, probably have a much better idea of how available processing opportunities can give a farmer a huge boost in sales over the winter when fresh produce is out of season.

The real payoff, for our trainees at least, was being set loose in the pre-frost fields where all the unharvested vegetables were up for grabs. And grab we did. We filled baskets and our mouths with tomatoes, sweet potatoes, fresh-dug parsnips and fingerling potatoes. Nothing compares to the first potato you’ve ever dug.  Maybe Rich had it right when he said it all comes down to food. Riding back in the hay wagon with the sun going down and everyone dirty-handed and covered in tomato juice, excited yet quieted by something like the sunset or the assurance of being a part instead of apart, we believed him.

The Wednesday Wintertime Market starts TONIGHT! Above is the calendar of community events and workshops for the market season. All events are free and open to the public. Every Wednesday 4-7pm, through the end of January. www.farmfresh.org/winter

The Wednesday Wintertime Market starts TONIGHT! Above is the calendar of community events and workshops for the market season. All events are free and open to the public. Every Wednesday 4-7pm, through the end of January. www.farmfresh.org/winter

The Wednesday evening Wintertime Market in Pawtucket starts tomorrow! Shop for fresh root vegetables, greens, cheese, fish, baked goods and more. Stick around for a special screening of “Orchards in the Ocean State” at 7:30pm.

The Wednesday evening Wintertime Market in Pawtucket starts tomorrow! Shop for fresh root vegetables, greens, cheese, fish, baked goods and more. Stick around for a special screening of “Orchards in the Ocean State” at 7:30pm.

Sign up for Winter Veggie Box!

Wednesday, October 30th is the last day to sign up for the winter session of Veggie Box! Sign up here.

Veggie Box is a weekly subscription to fresh, local produce from Rhode Island and Massachusetts farms. Boxes are delivered directly to workplaces, community centers, schools, and daycares across Rhode Island.  Every week, participants receive a newsletter with information about their box including recipes, storage suggestions, and stories about the participating farms.  The winter session of Veggie Box spans November and December. 

If you love fresh, locally-grown food, but can’t always find the time to visit farmers markets, Veggie Box is for you!

For more information, or to sign up for the winter session, click here.

HAPPY FOOD DAY!
Food Day  is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food – and we’re celebrating across Rhode Island!
The Rhode Island Food Policy Council (RIFPC) is celebrating with their Relish Rhody Campaign – and it’s easy to get involved! Here’s what you do:

     Participate in any sot of food action: cook a meal with ingredients from RI farms, attend a farmers market, volunteer at a food bank: anything!

     Take a picture of you and your group while participating holding a Relish Rhody poster! You can print your own from the RIFPC’s website.

     Tell everyone about it! Post your pictures to Facebook and tweet or Instragram it to @RelishRhody.  Don’t use any social media? Email your pic here.  


Farm Fresh Rhode Island is participating in Food Day with TWO farmers markets!  Come check us out:

     Armory Park  runs from 3:00 to dusk! Jamie Oliver at Home will be there sampling herbs in olive oil!

     West Warwick at the Thundermist Health Center runs from 3-6pm! Enjoy delicious local food from Oakdale Farm, Blue Skys Farm, and Wild Harmony Farm!


How will you celebrate Food Day?

HAPPY FOOD DAY!

Food Day is a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food – and we’re celebrating across Rhode Island!

The Rhode Island Food Policy Council (RIFPC) is celebrating with their Relish Rhody Campaign – and it’s easy to get involved! Here’s what you do:

*     Participate in any sot of food action: cook a meal with ingredients from RI farms, attend a farmers market, volunteer at a food bank: anything!

*     Take a picture of you and your group while participating holding a Relish Rhody poster! You can print your own from the RIFPC’s website.

*     Tell everyone about it! Post your pictures to Facebook and tweet or Instragram it to @RelishRhody.  Don’t use any social media? Email your pic here.  

Farm Fresh Rhode Island is participating in Food Day with TWO farmers markets!  Come check us out:

*     Armory Park  runs from 3:00 to dusk! Jamie Oliver at Home will be there sampling herbs in olive oil!

*     West Warwick at the Thundermist Health Center runs from 3-6pm! Enjoy delicious local food from Oakdale Farm, Blue Skys Farm, and Wild Harmony Farm!

How will you celebrate Food Day?

Relish Rhody

Did you know that this month, Rhode Island is celebrating National Food Day with it’s own unique campaign? 

Relish Rhody, a campaign organized by the Rhode Island Food Policy Council, is a way for people all across Rhode Island to celebrate food in our state during this harvest season. Relish Rhody can be incorporated into existing Food Day plans or a Relish Rhody food action and photo can become your Food Day celebration.

Here’s how it works:

  • Individuals, groups or organizations choose to grow, raise, purchase, harvest, donate, prepare, deliver, sample or eat a RI food - A RI FOOD ACTION.
  • Participants fill out a registration form & receive logo cards featuring Relish Rhody logo.  When you register for Relish Rhody, your event will also be registered to the National Food Day website as part of the 2013 celebration.
  • Participants take photos of their RI FOOD ACTION, with the Relish Rhody logo card prominently displayed in the photos. 
  • Participants upload/send/email photos to the RI Food Policy Council.
  • Relish Rhody photos will be compiled & used to document and celebrate Food Day 2013 - photos will appear on all RIFPC online spaces and many will be submitted to local media as well as the national Food Day organizers.

It’s EASY and FUN! Here are folks in the Harvest Kitchen showing you how it’s done. 

 


Join Eating with the Ecosystem for their first ever fundraiser. The event will take place on the evening of October 6th aboard the Schooner Aurora out of Newport RI. The Aurora is a sailing ship that was originally used in the herring fishery. Feel the wind in her sails as you take in Narragansett Bay from her deck!
Profits from the dinner will support Eating with the Ecosystem’s efforts to bring together community-based commercial fishermen, groundbreaking marine ecologists, and innovative chefs to transition the local seafood supply chain to one that is more in tune with changing ecosystems. If you are unable to make it to the event, please consider making a donation to Eating with the Ecosystem. 
Fare will include hor d’oevres, fresh from the sea! Fish will be donated by local fishermen and prepared by local restaurants, including Julian’s, Cook & Brown, Hourglass Brasserie, The Wharf Pub,The Mooring, and Fluke Wine Bar and Kitchen! Sip on wine donated by Newport Vineyards and rum from Thomas Tew.
[A note about the weather: Bundle up, as it can be cold on the water in October. In case of a light rain, the boat is equipped with a canopy, so the sail will go on. In case of heavy rain, the rain date is Monday October 7th. Participants will receive an email if a date change becomes necessary. Pray for sun!]

Have questions about Sunset Sail and Floating Feast aboard the Schooner Aurora? Contact Eating with the Ecosystem

Join Eating with the Ecosystem for their first ever fundraiser. The event will take place on the evening of October 6th aboard the Schooner Aurora out of Newport RI. The Aurora is a sailing ship that was originally used in the herring fishery. Feel the wind in her sails as you take in Narragansett Bay from her deck!

Profits from the dinner will support Eating with the Ecosystem’s efforts to bring together community-based commercial fishermen, groundbreaking marine ecologists, and innovative chefs to transition the local seafood supply chain to one that is more in tune with changing ecosystems. If you are unable to make it to the event, please consider making a donation to Eating with the Ecosystem

Fare will include hor d’oevres, fresh from the sea! Fish will be donated by local fishermen and prepared by local restaurants, including Julian’sCook & BrownHourglass BrasserieThe Wharf Pub,The Mooring, and Fluke Wine Bar and Kitchen! Sip on wine donated by Newport Vineyards and rum from Thomas Tew.

[A note about the weather: Bundle up, as it can be cold on the water in October. In case of a light rain, the boat is equipped with a canopy, so the sail will go on. In case of heavy rain, the rain date is Monday October 7th. Participants will receive an email if a date change becomes necessary. Pray for sun!]

Have questions about Sunset Sail and Floating Feast aboard the Schooner Aurora? Contact Eating with the Ecosystem

On Saturday, September 14th, Farm Fresh RI connected an enthusiastic group of volunteers from the Greater Providence YMCA with Franklin Farm in Cumberland, RI for a day of gleaning. Volunteers spent the day gathering eggplant, squash and tomatoes to donate to the RI Community Food Bank. Last year, the all volunteer-run Franklin Farm sent 20,577 pounds of fresh, local vegetables for donation.

"What a perfect Saturday to be at Franklin Farm, getting our hands dirty and donating time to help out a local farm and the Food Bank! We learned farm history, picked produce and helped to disassemble raised beds for the end of the season,” said one of the gleaning trip participants.

Recently added to The National Register of Historic Places, Franklin Farm encompasses over 65 acres of land and includes a mid-19th century farm house and an early 19th century timber framed barn.

Please check out Franklin Farm at http://www.franklinfarmri.org/. During the summer, they have Open Harvest evenings when any volunteer can stop by and lend a hand!

Start Instagram-ing! - The Taste America Local Dish Challenge

Visit one of three restaurants in RI - Hourglass Brasserie and Persimmon in Bristol, and Farmstead in Providence - to benefit Farm Fresh RI.

Each restaurant will have a Taste America Local dish featured on their menu.The city with the most Instagram photo uploads of these dishes will win a donation from JBF in the amount of $10,000 or 10% of the proceeds raised nationally, whichever is higher, to Farm Fresh RI. Order the dish and post a photo to Instagram with #JBFTasteAmerica and the hashtag of your city. You can also share your post via Twitter for added exposure!

Here’s a sample post to make sure your participation counts:

"Just had this #JBFTasteamerica dish from @persimmonRI featuring delicious local produce from #RI"

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Additionally, when you order the Taste America Local dish featured on these restaurants’ menus, $1 of every dish sold will support the James Beard Foundation (JBF)’s Taste America Education Drive.

Remember, the city with the most Instagram postings at the conclusion of the challenge wins, so visit as many restaurants as possible, post away and help a local food organization in your city take the prize.

FoodForward Brings Taste Explosion to Providence on Saturday, September 21

Tent at 9/21 Waterfire will showcase Rhode Island Food Innovators

Rhode Island is fertile ground for the food innovators who are taking food—in all its forms—to the next level. When it comes to food innovation, the country’s smallest state packs a big bite. Farm Fresh RI’s Harvest Kitchen will be part of the action this weekend!

On Saturday, September 21 during a full lighting of Waterfire, RallyRI’s FoodForward tent will showcase more than a dozen culinary mavericks who are building thriving businesses and globally great brands right here in Rhode Island.

The FoodForward tent will be located on College Street and is free and open to the public beginning at 6pm

Visitors to the FoodForward tent will taste creations from:

Campus Fine Wines

In July 2012, Andrea Sloan, Howard Mahady, Vincent Scorziello and Natalie Butler purchased Campus Fine Wines, a Fox Point neighborhood landmark for decades. Campus will be serving five amazing craft brews that highlight the rapid growth of Rhode Island’s craft beer scene!  Campus will be sampling beers from Grey Sail, Foolproof, Narragansett Seasonals, Newport Storm, and Revival.

Daniele, Inc

This rapidly growing global company is hand-making some of the finest charcuterie in the world. Thanks to the ingenuity and passion of the Dukcevich family, restaurants and food lovers across the globe enjoy prosciutto, sopressata, salami, pancetta, mortadella and capocollo that is made in the pristine northern woods of Rhode Island.

Go Veggie

GO Veggie!™ was launched in 2012, by Galaxy Nutritional Foods, a 25-year leader in the cheese alternative products industry, specifically for the traditional grocery store channel. GO Veggie! has two distinct product lines — GO Veggie! Lactose Free and GO Veggie! Dairy Free — which appeal to a broad spectrum of consumers including those who are lactose intolerant or simply want to improve their health by reducing dairy and following a plant-based diet. Both products offer a variety of flavors and choices and are known for exceptional taste and melt.  

Granny Squibb’s Iced Teas

Granny said it all started one hot August day in the in the early 1930’s. Sarah (Sally) and George Squibb and their sons were spending the summer in a newly-built house overlooking Narragansett Bay. Granny said it had been hotter than ever and even the sea breezes couldn’t keep them cool. So she decided it was a good time to try out a recipe she’d gotten for a new drink called iced tea. Granny made up a batch using black tea, juice squeezed from fresh lemons, granulated cane sugar, spring water from their well, and mint that grew wild by the brook. The Granny Squibb Company, LLC makes iced teas that are just as delicious and refreshing as the icy cold lemon tea Granny Squibb served to her family and friends. 

Harvest Kitchen from Farm Fresh RI

Many people know Farm Fresh RI from the extraordinary network of farm-to-table services and programs they run, but fewer know about their innovative Harvest Kitchen program—a simple but powerful platform that helps young people develop vital life and business skills as they prepare, package and sell their own culinary creations.

Narragansett Creamery

The Federico Family has been making heartfelt, homecooked meals for generations—just ask Gramma Susie. That this love for honest food transformed into a family-run food business should come as no surprise. Narragansett Creamery started in 2007 when Mark and Pattie Federico decided to launch an artisan brand under their umbrella company, Providence Specialty Products. Within a few short years, their cheeses have become a trusted name throughout New England.

Premama

Premama was founded with one mission: to make expectant moms happier. Premama believes trying-to-conceive, expectant, and lactating moms deserve access to pharmaceutical-grade, healthy prenatal vitamins. This includes developing Premama products with patented, licensed quality vitamins and minerals often found in prescribed prenatal vitamins.

Walrus and Carpenter Oysters

On the leading edge of a new generation of aquaculture in Rhode Island, Walrus and Carpenter is reawakening our state’s connection to it’s shoreline and helping to set a new vision for a sustainable—and very profitable—industry. While most of their oysters can be found at restaurants and raw bars in Rhode Island, they do offer a direct order service - if you put in your order byWednesday, they’ll harvest it on Friday and same-day deliver it to Providence for pickup.

What’s RallyRI?

RallyRI, funded through the RI Innovation Fellowship, is launching a startup revolution in Rhode Island by taking what we’ve learned working with technology startups and applying it where our state has world class talent and the potential to transform our economy. These sectors are art and design, food and beverage, social ventures and advanced manufacturing. (More at rallyri.co)

For more information, contact Melissa at melissa.withers@gmail.com.