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Potomac State College awarded grant for ‘Pizza Oven Project’

West Virginia University Potomac State College has been selected to receive a FY19 Specialty Crop Block Program grant in the amount of approximately $25,000.  These funds will be utilized for the “Potomac State College Mobile Farm-to-Pizza Oven Project” as part of the SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship) program.  

As a result of this grant, the SAGE program will obtain an innovative, mobile, ‘turn-key’ pizza oven that will be used to increase the overall production of specialty crops while educating youth in our region about value-added, farm-grown products.

PSC’s Agriculture program will use the mobile oven to prepare high quality, wood-fired pizzas on our college-owned farms, at PSC events, community events, ag-based fairs and shows, conferences, festivals, and at local and regional farms to showcase this unique agriculture business model.

While the College grows some of their own products as part of normal coursework and farm operations, other products will be locally sourced through regional partners, including Brookdale Farms (Fort Ashby, W.Va.); Savage Mountain Farm (Meyersdale, Penn.); Evergreen Heritage Foundation (Mount Savage, Md.); and Garrett Growers Co-op (Garrett County, Md.).

The focus will be on promoting and utilizing many different specialty crops for this project, including high-tunnel and field-grown tomatoes; herbs such as basil, oregano, parsley, and cilantro; as well as arugula and spinach, mushrooms, jalapenos, sweet peppers, broccoli, onions, zucchini, and roasted garlic, among others.

Similar to the movement and popularity of craft beer, artisan breads and other products, craft pizza is another growing enterprise model that can readily promote and increase agri-business and agri-tourism.  

Furthermore, the SAGE program will strive to meet several meaningful goals in relation to the growing, distribution, marketing, and education of specialty crops in our region. 

The competitive grant was written and submitted last spring to the WV Department of Agriculture by PSC Grants Administrator William Letrent and SAGE Coordinator Corey Armstrong.

Local ag businesses interested in promoting their fruits and vegetables through this program by partnering with the Potomac State College Agriculture Department should contact Armstrong at carmstr1@mail.wvu.edu

West Virginia University Potomac State College was recently awarded a FY19 Specialty Crop Block Program grant.  These funds will be used for the College’s mobile ‘Farm-to-Pizza Oven Project’ as well as creating partnerships with local ag businesses.

West Virginia University Potomac State College was recently awarded a FY19 Specialty Crop Block Program grant.  These funds will be used for the College’s mobile ‘Farm-to-Pizza Oven Project’ as well as creating partnerships with local ag businesses.