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Grant Opportunities

As part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative to combat childhood obesity,  the Departments of Treasury, Health and Human Services and Agriculture will aim to expand the availability of nutritious food through the establishment of healthy food retail outlets, including developing and equipping grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores and farmers markets to help revitalize neighborhoods that currently lack these options.

Nineteen programs from these three Departments are currently available to support the development of sustainable projects and strategies to increase access to healthy, affordable foods and eliminate food deserts. Entities are eligible to apply to applicable programs and will find information and links to the specific programs below.

Who is eligible to apply?

USDA, Treasury and Health and Human Services encourage interested parties to form partnerships and develop sustainable projects and integrated strategies prior to applying. Strong partnerships will be able to leverage multiple programs, providing greater resources to combat food deserts.

Partnership may be formed between:  

  • Residents
  • Businesses
  • Local and Tribal governments
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Cooperatives and universities
  • State Department of Agriculture
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Community Development Entities (CDEs)
  • Community Development Corporations ( CDCs)  

Priority consideration will be given to organizations located in communities identified as food deserts and whose projects seek to eliminate food deserts in these designated areas. Projects that demonstrate the need for improved healthy food access in communities that are not officially designated as food deserts are also eligible for funding. For more information, visit our food desert webpage.

 

GRANT PROGRAMS:

United States Department of the Treasury

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund

The purpose of the Community Development Financial Institutions Program is to expand the capacity of CDFIs to provide credit, capital, and financial services to underserved populations and communities in the United States.

Purpose: The purpose of the CDFI Program is to expand the capacity of CDFIs to provide credit, capital, and financial services to underserved populations and communities in the United States.

Eligible Applicants: Certified CDFIs, or entities that have CDFI certification applications pending with the CDFI Fund. CDFIs are financial institutions (banks, thrifts, credit unions, loan funds, and venture capital funds) with a principal mission of serving underserved populations or distressed communities.

Application Timeline: Applications are due at the end of June. Awards will likely be announced in August.

Information: http://www.cdfifund.gov.
Additional Information:

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The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program

The New Markets Tax Credit Program permits taxpayers to receive a credit against Federal income taxes for making qualified equity investments in designated Community Development Entities (CDEs).

Purpose: The NMTC Program permits taxpayers to receive a credit against Federal income taxes for making qualified equity investments in designated Community Development Entities (CDEs). Substantially all of the qualified equity investment must in turn be used by the CDE to provide investments in low-income communities.

Eligible Applicants: Certified CDEs, or entities that have CDE certification applications pending with the CDFI Fund. A CDE is any duly organized domestic corporation or partnership that: (a) has a primary mission of serving, or providing investment capital for, low-income communities or low-income persons; and (b) maintains accountability to residents of low-income communities through their representation on any governing board of the entity or any advisory board to the entity.

Application Timeline: New Market Tax Credit Program Applications were released 5/31/2011. Awards will likely be announced in January or February.

More Information: www.cdfifund.gov

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United States Department of Health and Human Services

Community Economic Development Program

The Community Economic Development Program supports community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in distressed areas.

Purpose: Support community-based efforts to improve the economic and physical health of people in distressed areas.

Eligible Applicants: Community Development Corporations (CDC) which must document their eligibility as a CDC for the purposes of this grant program. The application must include a list of governing board members along with their designation as a community resident, or business or civic leader. In addition, the application must include documentation that the organization has as a primary purpose planning, developing or managing low-income housing or community development activities.

Program: Through the CED program, HHS will award competitive grants to Community Development Corporations to support projects that finance grocery stores, farmers markets, and other sources of fresh nutritious food. These projects will serve the dual purposes of facilitating access to healthy, affordable food options while creating job and business development opportunities in low-income communities, particularly since grocery stores often serve as anchor institutions in commercial centers.

Application Timeline: The CED Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) was published 5/11/2011. Applications are due July 11, 2011. Awards will be announced by September 30, 2011.

More Information: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/view/HHS-2011-ACF-OCS-EE-0178

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United States Department of Agriculture

Community Facilities Program

The Community Facilities Program develops essential community facilities and services for public use in rural areas to improve the quality of life of rural residents.

Purpose: Develop essential community facilities and services for public use in rural areas, to improve the quality of life of rural residents.

Eligible Applicants: Public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and State and Federally-recognized tribes located in rural areas with populations of 20,000 or less.

Program: The Community Facilities program addresses basic needs and supports the success of rural communities by providing loans and grants for the construction, acquisition, or renovation of community facilities or for the purchase of equipment for community projects. Community Facilities funding sources include guaranteed loans, direct loans, and grants. Projects that may qualify include, but are not limited to, farmers markets, school and community kitchens/equipment, community food banks, refrigerated trucks, meals-on-wheels delivery vehicles, and community gardens. These projects will support local and regional food systems and increase access to healthy, locally grown foods.

Application Timeline: Applications are accepted on a continual basis. Entities interested in applying for these funds should contact the Rural Development Area Office that handles the county where their proposed project will be located, to initiate the application process. Applicants can find the contact information for their Area Office by using the website listed below and selecting the following: "Agencies & Offices;" "USDA Service Centers;" then click on your State, and then click on your County.

More Information: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/HCF_CF.html

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Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program (RBOG)

The Rural Business Opportunity Grant Program promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs through provision of training and technical assistance for business development, entrepreneurs, and economic development officials and to assist with economic development planning.

Purpose: The RBOG program promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs through provision of training and technical assistance for business development, entrepreneurs, and economic development officials and to assist with economic development planning.

Eligible Applicants: Rural public bodies, rural nonprofit corporations, rural Indian tribes, and cooperatives with primarily rural members that conduct activities for the mutual benefit of the membership are eligible provided they have sufficient financial strength and expertise to carry out the activity to be funded.

Program: The RBOG program is primarily a training and technical assistance program. Funds may be provided for development of export markets; feasibility studies; development of long term trade strategies; community economic development planning; business training and business based technical assistance for rural entrepreneurs and business managers; establishment of rural business incubators; and assistance with technology based economic development. The types of projects that may be funded might include identification/ analysis of business opportunities that will utilize local material and human resources; provision of leadership development training to existing or prospective rural entrepreneurs and managers; business support centers; centers for training, technology and export trade; and, economic development planning.

Application Timeline: An annual notice soliciting applications is published early in the calendar year. Entities interested in applying for these funds should contact the Rural Development State Office that handles the county where their proposed project will be located, to initiate the application process. Applicants can find the contact information for their State Office by visiting the Rural Development Web site at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html.

More Information: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RD_Grants.html

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Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program (B&I)

The purpose of the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program is to help new and existing businesses based in rural areas gain access to affordable capital.

Purpose: The purpose of the B&I program is to help new and existing businesses based in rural areas gain access to affordable capital. Loans can be used for a wide variety of business-related activities, including: business development, repair, or modernization; purchase and development of land; and purchase of equipment, machinery, supplies, and/or inventory.

More Information: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/b&i_gar.htm

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Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)

The purpose of the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program is to support the development and ongoing success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises.

Purpose: The purpose of the RMAP program is to support the development and ongoing success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises. Direct loans and grants are made to selected Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs).

More Information: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_RMAP.html

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Intermediary Relending Program

Through this program, loans are provided to local organizations (intermediaries) for the establishment of revolving loan funds. These revolving loan funds are used to assist with financing business and economic development activity to create or retain jobs in disadvantaged and remote communities.

Purpose: Loans are provided to local organizations (intermediaries) for the establishment of revolving loan funds. These revolving loan funds are used to assist with financing business and economic development activity to create or retain jobs in disadvantaged and remote communities. Intermediaries are encouraged to work in concert with State and regional strategies, and in partnership with other public and private organizations that can provide complimentary resources.

More Information: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/irp.htm

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Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program (RBEG)

The Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program provides grants for rural projects that finance and facilitate the development of small and emerging rural businesses and help fund employment related adult education programs.

Purpose: The RBEG program provides grants for rural projects that finance and facilitate the development of small and emerging rural businesses and help fund employment related adult education programs. Examples of eligible fund use include: Acquisition or development of land, construction, conversion, renovation, of buildings, plants, machinery, equipment, capitalization of revolving loan funds including funds that will make loans for start ups and working capital; training and technical assistance; and project planning.

More Information: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/rbeg.htm

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Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP)

The Farmers Market Promotion Program supports the development, promotion, and expansion of direct, producer-to-consumer marketing and consumption of domestic agricultural commodities.

Purpose: Support the development, promotion, and expansion of direct, producer-to-consumer marketing and consumption of domestic agricultural commodities.

Eligible Applicants: All applicants must be domestic entities, i.e., owned, operated, and located within one or more of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and able to provide written evidence of eligibility. Eligible entities include: 1) agricultural cooperatives, 2) economic development corporations 3) producer networks, 4) producer associations, 5) local governments, 6) non-profit corporations, 7) public benefit corporations, 8) regional farmers' market authorities, and 9) Tribal governments. Individuals are not eligible to apply.

Program: Through the Farmers Market Promotion Program, the Agricultural Marketing Service provides non-construction competitive grants that target the development, improvement, and expansion of domestic farmers' markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities, with a goal of increasing the consumption of fresh nutritious food products. These efforts provide opportunities for producers to increase farm income, contribute to the development of viable food systems, and promote greater access to local food products within the Federal nutrition assistance.

Application Timeline: Eligible applicants must apply within the guidelines set forth in the FMPP Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) and program Guidelines. It is anticipated that the NOFA will be published in the Federal Register in February/March of 2011, and applicants will have 45 days to submit. AMS will announce awards in September and funds will become available beginning in October.

More Information: www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP

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Specialty Crop Block Grants (SCBG)

The purpose of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops.

Purpose: The purpose of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) is to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops.

The agency, commission, or department responsible for agriculture within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible to apply for grant funds from USDA.

Eligible Applicants: Applications for individual specialty crop projects must be submitted to your state department of agriculture to be considered for funding. To learn more about how to apply for Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funding, contact your state department of agriculture project coordinator (http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/SCBGPStatePOCs).

State departments of agriculture are encouraged to partner with specialty crop stakeholders, including socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers, in order to fulfill state specialty crop priorities.

Program: USDA encourages states to develop projects to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops pertaining to the following issues affecting the specialty crop industry: increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops; improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems; assisting all entities in the specialty crop distribution chain in developing best practices; investing in specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes; enhancing food safety; developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops; pest and disease control; and development of organic and sustainable production practices. The program aims to increase the marketability of specialty crop farmers, including Native American and disadvantaged farmers; develop local a regional food systems; and improve food access in underserved communities.

Application Timeline: Applicants should contact their state departments of agriculture for more information or visit the website below.

More Information: http://www.ams.usda.gov/SCBGP

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Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP)

The Federal State Marketing Improvement program (FSMIP) provides matching funds to state departments of agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations, and other appropriate state agencies to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products, and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system.

Purpose: This Federal State Marketing Improvement program (FSMIP) provides matching funds to state departments of agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations, and other appropriate state agencies to assist in exploring new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products, and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system.

Eligible Applicants: Eligible applicants include state departments of agriculture, state agricultural experiment stations, and other appropriate state agencies. Applicants are encouraged to involve industry groups, academia, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders in developing proposals and conducting projects.

Program: These grants explore new and innovative approaches to marketing U.S. food and agricultural products and to improve the efficiency and performance of the marketing system. FSMIP funds a wide range of applied research projects that address barriers, challenges, and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. food and agricultural products domestically and internationally.

Application Timeline: Notices of Funds Availability (NOFAs) have traditionally been posted for this program in the federal register in December of each year. Please refer to the website below for the most updated information.

Most recent NOFA: http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/02/07/apply-within-matching-grants-to-boost-state-research-efforts/

More Information: www.ams.usda.gov/FSMIP

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Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP)

The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is associated with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC. The FMNP was established to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC participants, and to expand the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers markets..

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Purpose: The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is associated with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, popularly known as WIC. The WIC Program provides supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education at no cost to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding post-partum women, and to infants and children up to five years of age who are found to be at nutritional risk. The FMNP was established to provide fresh, unprepared, locally grown fruits and vegetables to WIC participants, and to expand the awareness, use of, and sales at farmers markets.

Eligible Applicants: Women, infants (over four months old) and children that have been certified to receive WIC program benefits or who are on a waiting list for WIC certification are eligible to participate in FMNP. State agencies may serve some or all of these categories.

Program: Eligible WIC participants are issued FMNP coupons in addition to their regular WIC benefits. These coupons can be used to buy eligible foods from farmers, farmers markets or roadside stands that have been approved by the State agency to accept FMNP coupons. The farmers, farmers markets or roadside stands then submit the coupons to the bank or state agency for reimbursement.

Nutrition education is provided to FMNP recipients by the state agency, often through an arrangement with the local WIC agency. Other program partners may provide nutrition education and/or educational information to FMNP recipients. These educational arrangements help encourage FMNP recipients to improve and expand their diets by adding fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as educate them on how to select, store and prepare the fresh fruits and vegetables they buy with their FMNP coupons.

More Information: http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/fmnp/fmnpfaqs.htm

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Senior Farmer's Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)

The purposes of the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) are to: (1) Provide resources in the form of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs from farmers markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs to low-income seniors; (2) Increase the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs, and; (3) Develop or aid in the development of new and additional farmers markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs.

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Purpose: The purposes of the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) are to: (1) Provide resources in the form of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs from farmers markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs to low-income seniors; (2) Increase the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs, and; (3) Develop or aid in the development of new and additional farmers markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs.

Eligible Applicants: Low-income seniors, generally defined as individuals who are at least 60 years old and who have household incomes of not more than 185% of the federal poverty income guidelines are the targeted recipients of SFMNP benefits.

Program: SFMNP awards grants to states, United States Territories, and federally-recognized Indian tribal governments to provide low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods at farmers markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs.

Application Timeline: SFMNP benefits are provided to eligible recipients for use during the harvest season. In some states, the SFMNP season is relatively short, because the growing season in that area is not very long. In other states with longer growing seasons, recipients have a longer period of time in which to use their SFMNP benefits. Once the SFMNP benefits have been issued to eligible seniors, they can be used to purchase fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey, and herbs at authorized farmers' markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs. In 2009, these products were available to 809,711 low-income seniors from 18,714 farmers at 3,684 farmers' markets as well as 3,061 roadside stands and 159 community supported agriculture programs.

More Information: http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/SeniorFMNP/SFMNPmenu.htm

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Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants & Children (WIC)

WIC provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

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Purpose: WIC provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Eligibility: Please visit the website below for more information.

Program: WIC provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, and referrals to health and other social services to participants at no charge. WIC serves low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, and infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk.WIC is a federal grant program for which Congress authorizes a specific amount of funding each year for program operations. The Food and Nutrition Service, which administers the program at the federal level, provides these funds to WIC state agencies (State health departments or comparable agencies) to pay for WIC foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and administrative costs.

Application to the Program: The Food and Nutrition Service administers the WIC Program at the federal level; state agencies are responsible for determining participant eligibility and providing benefits and services, and for authorizing vendors. To apply to be a WIC participant, you will need to contact your State or local agency to set up an appointment.  Please visit your state's website or call the toll-free number for assistance.  When you call to set up an appointment, someone will tell you the location nearest your home and what you need to bring with you. To apply to be a WIC vendor, you will need to contact your state agency. 

More Information: http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The United States Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is a federal nutrition assistance program that provides food to low- and no-income people and families living in the United States.

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Purpose: The United States Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is a federal nutrition assistance program that provides food to low- and no-income people and families living in the United States Though the program is administered by the USDA, benefits are distributed by the individual states.

Eligible Applicants: To get SNAP benefits, households must meet certain criteria, including resource and income tests for resources, income, deductions, and employment requirements. Additionally, there are special rules for elderly or disabled and immigrant eligibility. To see if you might be eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamp) benefits, visit the pre-screening tool.

Applicantions: Visit the website below for more details.

More Information: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/

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The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

The Emergency Food Assistance Program helps supplement the diets of low-income people, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance.

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Purpose: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) helps supplement the diets of low-income people, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance.

Eligible Applicants: (a) Public or private nonprofit organizations that provide food and nutrition assistance to the needy through the distribution of food for home use or the preparation of meals. Please note the following:

  • Organizations that distribute food for home use must determine the household's eligibility by applying income standards.
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  • Organizations that provide prepared meals are eligible to receive commodities if they can demonstrate that they serve predominately needy persons.

(b) Households that meet state eligibility criteria. Each state sets criteria for determining which households are eligible to receive food for home consumption. Income standards may, at the state's discretion, be met through participation in other existing Federal, State, or local food, health, or welfare programs for which eligibility is based on income.

(c) Homeless people, including low-income senior citizens are eligible to participate in TEFAP. Homeless people can receive prepared meals served in a congregate setting without submitting an application. However, homeless people must meet state income eligibility requirements in order to receive TEFAP food that is not served in prepared meals.

Programs: USDA purchases TEFAP food, including processing and packaging, and ships it to the states. The amount received by each state depends on its low-income and unemployed population. State agencies work out details of administration and distribution. They select local organizations that either directly distribute to households or serve meals, or distribute to other local organizations that perform these functions.

Application Timeline: Contact your State Distributing Agency (SDA) for further assistance. For a list of SDA contacts please visit: http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/contacts/sdacontacts.htm

More Information: http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/tefap/

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Research Education and Economics:

ERS Food Environment Atlas

Economic Research and Analysis of Food Access

The Community Food Projects Grant Program (CFP)

The Community Food Projects Grant Program supports community-based food and agriculture projects nationwide.

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Purpose: The Community Food Projects Grant Program (CFP) supports community-based food and agriculture projects nationwide.

Eligible Applicants: Only private non-profit organizations are eligible to receive CFP funds directly, but collaborations with public and private for-profit entities are recommended. Applications will be evaluated by reviewers from the food security community. Applicants may request up to $300,000 for projects of up to three years' duration. CFP funds requested must be matched dollar for dollar with non-federal resources. Projects should be planned to use a one-time infusion of federal funds to become self-sustaining.

Program: This program supports projects that help meet the food needs of low-income people, increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their own food needs, and promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues. The program can also be used to meet specific state, local, or neighborhood food and agriculture needs for infrastructure improvement and development, long-term planning, or the creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.

Application Timeline: The CFP Request for Applications (RFA) for fiscal year 2011 was released August 27, with a deadline of November 17, 2010. The deadline has passed for this year.

More Information: http://www.foodsecurity.org/funding.html

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The Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center (HUFED)

The Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center grant program establishes and supports a Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center to increase access to healthy, affordable foods, including locally produced agricultural products, to underserved communities.

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Purpose: The Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center (HUFED) grant program establishes and supports a Healthy Urban Food Enterprise Development Center to increase access to healthy, affordable foods, including locally produced agricultural products, to underserved communities.

Eligible Applicants: Nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for and receive awards under the HUFED Center authority.

Program: The HUFED Center will provide training and technical assistance for food enterprises and award sub-grants to eligible entities for healthy food enterprise development.

Application Timeline: Check the website for more information.

More Information: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/rfas/healthy_urban_food.html and http://www.wallacecenter.org/our-work/current-initiatives/healthy-urban-food-enterprise-development-center/about-hufed

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