Mello leverages purchasing power to buy van for farm

The town has leveraged its buying capabilities to secure an electric van for the Jamestown Community Farm, according to Ed Mello, interim town administrator.

The town council at its meeting Monday unanimously approved the recommendation as part of the consent agenda. Although the town will outlay $54,584 to purchase the Ford van, it will be reimbursed by the nonprofit organization that grows vegetables at the corner of East Shore Road and Eldred Avenue.

“There will be no net cost to the town,” Mello wrote in his memo. “The farm has the funding immediately available.”

According to Mello, the Rhode Island Foundation awarded the farm with a grant to purchase an electric van, which is in line with its mission, to deliver donated vegetables to food pantries and soup kitchens across the state. Bob Sutton, president of the farm’s board of directors, however, has been unsuccessful. Ford limits the sale of its electric fleet to government agencies.

“He’s been looking for a van,” Mello said, “and has had significant trouble finding one.”

Mello, after locating a van at Colonial Municipal Group, said it “could be purchased through a recognized municipal bid contract in the state of Massachusetts allowing the town to purchase the van at a discounted rate.”

— Tim Riel