USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is Accepting Applications for Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program - Due June 3, 2020

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced it is accepting applications for its Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program with maximum funding levels ranging from $35,000 (for Planning Projects) to $400,000 (for Community Food Projects). The application deadline is June 3, 2020.  

What is the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program?

The Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program serves to fight food insecurity through developing community food projects that help promote self-sufficiency of low-income communities. Community Food Projects are designed to increase food security in communities by bringing the whole food system together to assess strengths, establish linkages, and create systems that improve the self-reliance of community members over their food needs.

What projects are eligible? There are two types of eligible projects for this program:

  1. Community Food Projects (CFP) support the development of projects with a one-time infusion of federal dollars to make projects self-sustaining. CFPs are designed to create community-based food projects with objectives, activities and outcomes that are in an alignment with the grant program’s goals. Examples include, but are not limited to, community gardens with market stands, value chain projects, food hubs, farmers’ markets, farm-to-institutions projects, and marketing and consumer cooperatives. All projects must involve low-income participants.
  2. Planning Projects (PP) develop and complete a plan toward the improvement of community food security in keeping with the primary goals of the grant program. PPs are to focus on a defined community and describe in detail the activities and outcomes of the planning project. Examples include, but are not limited to, community food assessments’ coordination of collaboration development plan, geographic information systems (GIS) analysis, food sovereignty study, and farm-to-institution exploration. All projects must involve low-income participants.

Who is eligible to apply? Public food program service providers, tribal organizations, or private nonprofit entities, including gleaners meeting the following four requirements are eligible to receive a CFP or PP award:

  • They must have experience in the area of:
    • community food work, particularly concerning small and medium-size farms, including the provision of food to people in low-income communities and the development of new markets in low-income communities for agricultural producers;
    • job training and business development activities for food-related activities in low-income communities; and
    • efforts to reduce food insecurity in the community, including food distribution, improving access to services, or coordinating services and programs.
  • Demonstrate competency to implement a project, provide fiscal accountability, collect data and prepare reports and other necessary documentation;
  • Demonstrate a willingness to share information with researchers, evaluators, practitioners, and other interested parties, including a plan of dissemination of results; and
  • Collaborate with one or more local partner organizations to achieve at least one hunger-free community’s goal. See Goals for a Hunger Free Community here.

Applicants for CFP and PP awards are encouraged to seek and create partnerships with public or private, nonprofit or for-profit entities, including links with academic institutions and/or other appropriate professionals, community-based organizations, and local government entities. Only the applicant must meet the eligibility requirements.

What kind of project activities will be given highest consideration? Preference will be given to CFPs and PPs designed to:

  • Develop linkages between two or more sectors of the food system;
  • Support the development of entrepreneurial projects;
  • Develop innovative connections between the for-profit and nonprofit food sectors;
  • Encourage long-term planning activities, and multi-system, interagency approaches with collaborations from multiple stakeholders that build the long-term capacity of communities to address the food and agricultural problems of the communities, such as food policy councils and food planning associations; or
  • Develop new resources and strategies to help reduce food insecurity in the community and prevent food insecurity in the future by:
    • Developing creative food resources;
    • Coordinating food services with park and recreation programs and other community-based outlets to reduce barriers to access; or
    • Creating nutrition education programs for at-risk populations to enhance food-purchasing and food-preparation skills and to heighten awareness of the connection between diet and health.

What is the funding level and project duration of this grant?  A total of $4.8 million is available for this grant program.

  • CFP: Project duration is 24-36 months, but projects can be extended up to four years at no extra cost. Applicants may request one, two, three or four years of funding, but in all cases, the grant term may not exceed four years for any proposal. No single CFP awards will exceed $125,000 in any single year or $400,000 over four years. The start date of the grant project must be no later than September 30, 2020.
  • PP: The project duration is up to three years with a maximum award amount of $35,000. The start date of the grant project must be no later than September 30, 2020.

Is there a matching requirement? CFP and PP applicants must provide matching on a dollar-for-dollar basis for all federal funds awarded.

The full Request for Application (RFA) can be found 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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