USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Accepting Applications for the Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grants Program – Due April 7, 2020

USDA NIFA is soliciting applications for the Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grants Program (FSOP) for projects that develop and implement FSMA-related food safety training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance to owners and operators of small and medium-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, small processors or small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers with funding levels ranging from $80,000 - $550,000 as detailed below.

What are the project types and funding levels? For FY 2020 there is approximately $8 million available for awards and two project types:

  1. Community Outreach Projects (awards: $80,000 - $150,000) - An additional $150,000 is available for Collaborative Engagement Supplements, for a total budget of $300,000.
  2. Collaborative Education and Training Projects (awards: $200,000 - $400,000) - An additional $150,000 is available for Collaborative Engagement Supplements, for a total budget of $550,000.

Collaborative Engagement Supplements: Applications that include significant collaborations with 1890s, 1862s, 1994s, Insular Areas, ANNH, or HSACU, to increase outreach to underserved minority communities will be funded up to $150,000 above the listed budget maximum for both project types.

Community Outreach Projects will support the development of food safety education and outreach programs in local communities and the expansion of existing food safety education programs that address the needs of small, specialized audiences whose education needs have not previously been adequately addressed. Projects will focus on building the capacity of local groups to identify very specific needs within their communities, and to implement appropriately customized food safety education and outreach programs to meet those specific needs. Community Outreach Projects will support the growth and expansion of already existing food safety education and outreach programs currently offered in local communities; to include previously funded, successful Pilot Projects. In addition, these projects will enable existing programs to reach a broader target audience, provide technical assistance and/or to expand to new audiences.

Community Outreach Projects should at least include the following:

  • Focus on developing, implementing, or expanding food safety education to nontraditional, niche, or hard-to-reach audiences;
  • Be led by project teams who demonstrate a record of developing and maintaining community partnerships and working successfully to serve the educational needs of the target audiences identified; and
  • Develop and implement customized food safety education and outreach programs for those working with various agricultural production and processing systems, including conservation systems, sustainable systems and organic farming systems.

Collaborative Education and Training Projects will support the development of multi-county, state-wide or multi-state programs. For example, these projects will support collaborations among states not necessarily located within the same regions, but having common food safety concerns, or addressing common commodities. Potential applicants must have an established track record of working with target audiences, and must be capable of developing and modifying food safety training curricula to meet new FSMA rules for a variety of agricultural production and processing systems.

Collaborative Education and Training Projects should at least include the following:

  • Be led by project teams who demonstrate a record of developing and maintaining community partnerships and working successfully to serve the educational needs of the target audiences identified; and
  • Develop and implement customized food safety education and outreach programs for those working with various agricultural production and processing systems, including conservation systems, sustainable systems, and organic farming systems.

Additionally, FSOP encourages (but does not require) projects that develop content suitable for delivery through eXtension. It also supports global engagement that advances U.S. agricultural goals. Although this application to this RFA is limited to eligible U.S. institutions, applicants may collaborate with international partners, to include subcontracts to international partners or other institutions.

Who is eligible to apply? Eligible applicants for both project types for this grant program include:

  • The Cooperative Extension Service for a U.S. state or territory;
  • Non-government organizations and/or community based organizations representing owners and operators of farms, small food processors, or small fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers that has a commitment to public health and expertise in administering programs that contribute to food safety;
  • Federal, State, local, or tribal agencies;
  • An institution of higher education (as defined in Section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a)) or a foundation maintained by an institution of higher education;
  • A collaboration of two or more eligible entities.

What is the project duration? Community Outreach Projects can be up to 24 months and Collaborative Education and Training Projects can be up to 36 months.

Is there a cost sharing/matching requirement? The FSOP has no matching requirement. NIFA will not factor matching resources into the review process as an evaluation criterion.

The full Request for Proposals is here.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at grants@morrisonco.net or call us at 530-893-4764.

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