A new law under the FDA is calling for farmers to make certain upgrades to their systems for public health.
One farm in Caribou has plans to upgrade, and the city is hoping to give them a hand by applying for a grant.
Circle B Farms owner, Sam Blackstone, “The new food security act is going to be changing the ways we do things and handle people’s food.”
The new FDA rules require new inspection standards, harvesting, import verification, transportation and contamination prevention standards among other things. And now that has called for upgrades to Circle B Farms packing and storage facility. The city of Caribou wants to help the local business, which helps the local economy, by applying for a community development block grant.
Caribou City Manager, Austin Bleess, “It’s a 25 thousand dollar grant that would help them improve their septic system and driveway system at the plant.”
Blackstone says the expansion will create at least 2 full time jobs, which is part of the requirements for the block grant. But if granted the 25 thousand dollars, it’s only scratching the surface.
Blackstone, “It’s just a small part of the project but at this point any and all help is welcome.”
Either way, the big picture is that Circle B Farm’s operations will be up to code under the FDA.
Bleess, “It’s not always possible to help out every business with the requirements that the grants have, but in this case, community development block grants are a good fit for this project and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to see some good results from it.”
Blackstone, “We’re going to be able to grow and we’re going to be able to service Aroostook county with fresh vegetables, blueberries, apples, with a much safer product.”
Along with the expansion and upgrades, Circle B Farms hopes to get their products like the blueberries grown here, out into the rest of the state and potentially the greater the New England region.
Bleess says a public hearing on the grant application is being held on Monday the 12th. The due date for the grant to be submitted in May 30th.