Padilla Congratulates Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation (F3) Coalition for Winning $65.1 Million in Build Back Better Regional Challenge

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) congratulated the Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation (F3) Coalition as one of 21 national winners of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The coalition is led by the Central Valley Community Foundation and has been awarded $65.1 million in grants to drive agriculture innovation in the Central Valley. The grants are being awarded by the US Department of Commerce through the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, a program created by the American Rescue Plan Act that Padilla voted for and was signed into law in March 2021.

“This is an exciting moment for California and the Central Valley,” said Senator Padilla. “This significant award for the Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation Coalition will accelerate research and boost job training opportunities in the agricultural sector throughout the Central Valley. The Central Valley feeds the nation—and the world. I was proud to support the American Rescue Plan, which provides communities, large and small, funding for innovative projects that will uplift our economy and create good paying jobs.”

Padilla wrote letters to the Department of Commerce in support of the F3 Coalition’s grant application in October 2021 and March 2022.

With $65.1 million in funding from EDA, the F3 Coalition aims to integrate technology into the agriculture industry to improve productivity and job quality for farmworkers, while also driving a more resilient and sustainable food system. EDA funding will support the launch of iCREATE, an ag-tech hub with the mission of accelerating the development and transfer of technology between researchers at local universities and farmers across the region. At the same time, community colleges throughout the Central Valley will receive access to training and new technology to equip students and workers with the skills needed to access higher quality, higher paying jobs in ag-tech—improving both farm productivity and wages.


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