Washington County Food Bank served $110K state tax credit

Funding will help build hydroponics system for local produce distribution

HARRISBURG, Dec. 20 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, today said that a $110,000 state tax credit has been approved for the Greater Washington County Food Bank to launch a hydroponics program that will grow 100,000 units of produce annually for distribution throughout the county.

“This is a wonderful endeavor that will utilize local students to build and operate the system,” Snyder said. “It will bolster food security and provide locally grown vegetables to more than 5,000 county residents.”

The tax credit was awarded by the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Neighborhood Assistance Program, which encourages businesses to donate capital that can be used to provide services for low-income people or distressed neighborhoods.

Snyder said plans for the funding include purchasing hydroponic equipment, which uses nutrient solutions to grow plants, as well as shipping containers, a refrigerated box truck and hiring a farm manager to oversee operations and training.

“The food bank envisions building a retail model based on hydroponics that will create sustainable funding,” Snyder said. ”The goals are ambitious and commendable.”

The nonprofit food bank has been providing groceries and nutritional information to food insecure residents of Washington County for over 33 years through 48 distribution sites and seven agencies. Roughly 30 percent of recipients are under age 18, and over 20 percent are seniors.

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, which collaborates with and assists food banks in Greene, Washington and Fayette counties, was awarded a $515,000 tax credit today through NAP’s Charitable Food Program to help it meet the growing demand for services throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.

More information about the tax credits is available online at www.dced.pa.gov/nap.