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Rendering of the walk-in refrigeration and freezer equipment for Ritter Center’s future expanded food pantry on A Street in San Rafael. Rendering courtesy of Ritter Center

In a strengthening of Marin County food systems, three local nonprofits – the Agricultural Institute of
Marin, ExtraFood and Ritter Center – were selected as recipients of the Healthy Refrigeration Grant Program awards, administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture Farm to Fork
Office. These organizations were recognized among 103 projects that promote access to healthy foods
in underserved communities while promoting California-grown agriculture.
“Marin County is often touted as one of the healthiest places to live; however, we have some of the highest inequities in the state, making healthy food hard to access especially for older adults, people of low income, and communities of color,” said Andy Naja-Riese, chief executive officer of the Agricultural Institute of Marin and co-chair of the Marin Countywide HEAL Collaborative.
ExtraFood will use its grant award of $256,765 to provide 37 refrigeration units to 22 of their food distribution partner sites as well as their facility. With additional refrigeration and freezer space,
Extra Food will reach over 25,000 food-insecure people living in Marin, Sonoma and San Francisco
counties and increase equitable access to healthy fresh food.
Ritter Center’s grant of $41,382 will fund walk-in refrigeration and freezer equipment for its expanded food pantry at 800 A St. in San Rafael, Ritter Center’s future location scheduled to open in late 2024. After 43 years on Ritter Street, the organization is moving to a new location to continue meeting the evolving needs of the community’s most vulnerable people.
AIM’s grant award of $173,218 funds a new Rollin’ Root mobile farmers market truck, which will serve
as a cornerstone in its mission to provide accessible, nutritious food to older adults and under-served
communities across Marin and San Francisco. The mobile market addresses healthy food access barriers of affordability and mobility while supporting the livelihoods of small-scale local farmers, dairies and food producers.

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