The Rhode Island Food Dealers Association is a trade association established in 1909 and today it continues to foster the same mission by serving the food industry through education, members services and providing a unified voice for the industry before state and national governments, thereby benefiting the industry with knowledge, strength and fellowship. Our membership includes grocery retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, brokers, distributors and manufacturers.
RIFDA Mission Statement
The mission of Rhode Island Food Dealers Association is to represent the industry; to assist the retail and supply members in increasing their current and future effectiveness and profitability through information, education, and legislative representation; and to emphasize a high standard of integrity, quality, and efficiency in the conduct and actions of the industry.
Current RIFDA Projects and Initiatives
- Board member of the Rhode Island Food Policy Council (The Rhode Island Food Policy Council’s work is coordinated by a statewide collaboration of diverse, committed and engaged stakeholders from all sectors of the food system.
The Council creates partnerships, develops policies and advocates for improvements to the local food system to increase and expand its capacity, viability and sustainability.
- Current Chairman of Policy Committee, an integral arm of the council focusing on current and prospective food policy opportunities
- Member of the Research and Evaluation Committee
- The Food Dealers Association is working in collaboration with the RI Public Health Institute, The Governor’s Task Force on Hunger, the RI Food Policy Council, RI Department of Human Services (DHS) and others in developing and executing a long term initiative to expand the use of SNAP benefits in Grocery Stores while providing additional incentive for SNAP users to eat healthy.
- We were a member of the original Design Team which developed the model and provided guidelines and recommendations for initiative
- Part of the Planning Committee which represents various government, private, social, and community agencies as well as current and potential SNAP users which is working to obtain grants and develop the final model to be used for program implementation
- Now part of the Implementation Committee which will work to develop the final plan to submit for various funding while coordinating the various individual segments of this initiative into a successful test within n the next 14 months.
- Working with in conjunction with RI Food Policy Council and others with Real Jobs RI Partnerships on establishing “Rhode Island Good Food Jobs”. This new initiative joins an expansive network of strategic, employer led, industry partnerships that develop customized workforce solutions to address workforce challenges and opportunities.
- Active member of the RI Alliance (RI Alliance for Business Resistance) – The Rhode Island Alliance for Business Resilience (the Alliance) is a self-governed public-private partnership focused on improving the resilience of Rhode Island businesses and local communities.
- First “Association” Member
- Member of Critical Infrastructure Committee
- Partnering with Ratio Institute on retail and food manufacturing certification program for Rhode Island. The Ratio Institute focuses on sustainable solutions centered around food retail. This partnership also offers training programs for our members that are both environmentally friendly and intended to be cost saving as well.
- Developing strong working relationship and partnership with RI Department of Business Regulation which will lead to better communication for RI food company members and providing guidance to this department on impact of various new and existing policies and requirements. This partnership will lead to a much more effective collaboration of our efforts.
- Helping to Coordinate with URI Business Engagement Center and other agencies and Participate in the Annual RI Food Summits held at URI Center for Biotechnology (120 Flagg Road, Kingston RI). This will include presentations and panel discussions about the implementation of RI Food Strategy and how businesses, individuals, and the government can support this initiative.
- Appointed Committee Member of the Governor’s Task Force on Hunger Elimination (Governor Raimondo’s Relish Rhody Food Strategy commits to reducing food insecurity levels to below 10% in 2020, from 12.8% in 2017)
- Member of the Steering Committee
- Member of the Subcommittee focused on Increasing SNAP usage in Grocery Stores (Working in conjunction with RI Department of Health Food Access Group and “Food on the Move” program coordinators)
- Working with Coastal Resource Center & RI Sea Grant and the University of RI School of Oceanography on special initiative to help small businesses in RI to become resilient to potential catastrophes through preparedness, planning, and recovery programs.
- Collaborates with Manomet (A 45-year-old nonprofit grounded in science)
- Seeking to obtain a grant enabling for RI to participate in a program (“Grocery Slam Competition”) that provides online and small group training focused on training that reduces the use of toxic chemicals, increase recycling, and minimize food waste in grocery stores.
- Coordinating with Manomet to offer Grocery Stewardship Certification program for retailers
- Partnering with Karen Karp and Partners, a food industry consulting group on identifying needs of the industry within our state including employee training and retention programs. Currently working on goals and objectives tied to the recent Real Jobs RI Grant awarded to RI Food Policy Council.
- Commission Member of the RI House Food Recovery Commission which focused on eliminating food waste, while increasing food donations to the RI Community Food Bank and its affiliated agencies.
- Working with RI Small Business Administration Economic Development on their current initiatives including Business Training and Mentoring, Access to Funding, Federal Government Contracts, Exporting, and Disaster Preparedness.
- Working with RI Commerce Corporation on business development incentives via tax credits and special financing programs
- Provides necessary communication in conjunction with the RI Department of Health Food Safety Inspection Service to our members.
- Collaborates with The Center for EcoTechnology which helps people and businesses save energy and reduce waste.
- Partners with Hope & Main, an RIFDA Member, to provide opportunities for small entrepreneurial companies to gain a foothold in the RI food industry
- Collaborates with Rhode Island’s “Food on the Move” initiative to increase the availability and consumption of more fruits and vegetables to RI consumers. Food on the Move grew out of the Fresh to You Market, a program found to be effective in increasing fruit and vegetable consumption for Rhode Islanders
- Establish potential programs with URI Center for A Hunger Free America in conjunction with RI Food Council, and the Fair Food Network which works together with RI stakeholders to make a difference for SNAP customers – and developing the potential for RI grocery stores to become part of this opportunity.
- Supports the Buy Local RI enterprise (by the RI Foundation) which supports small RI businesses to create local jobs to help sustain the local economy.
- Working with the RI Tax Administration Office in effort to improve communication between the state government and our members and provide a forum for clarification and resolution of sales tax applications
- Partners with RI Society of Certified Public Accounts and the Office of Senator Jack Reed in establishing discussion topics for growing the RI economy to be used at the Sen. Jack Reed Business Leaders Day in Washington