Grants Available for Community Food Projects

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting applications for the Community Food Projects (CFP) competitive grants program. Approximately $4.8 million is available in funding with applications due May 4, 2021.

What is the purpose of Community Food Projects program?
The Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP) has existed since 1996 as a program to fight food insecurity through developing community food projects that help promote the 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 types of projects are eligible?
  • Community Food Projects (CFPs) CFPs are designed to create community-based food projects with objectives, activities and outcomes that are in alignment with CFPCGP primary goals.
    • Examples of CFP Projects include, but are not limited to, community gardens with market stands, value chain projects, food hubs, farmers’ markets, farm-to-institutions projects, and marketing & consumer cooperatives. All projects must involve low-income participants.
  • Planning Projects (PP) are designed to complete a plan toward the improvement of community food security in keeping with the primary goals of the CFPCGP (see RFA below). PPs are to focus on a defined community and describe in detail the activities and outcomes of the planning project.
    • Examples of PPs include, but are not limited to, community food assessments, coordination of collaboration development plans, GIS analyses, food sovereignty studies, and farm-to-institution exploration. All projects must involve low-income participants.

Preference will be given to CFPs and PPs designed to:

  1. Develop linkages between two or more sectors of the food system;
  2. Support the development of entrepreneurial projects;
  3. Develop innovative connections between the for-profit and nonprofit food sectors;
  4. Encourage long-term planning activities, and sustainable, 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
  5. Develop new resources and strategies to help reduce food insecurity in the community and prevent food insecurity in the future by:
    1. Developing creative food resources;
    2. Coordinating food services with park and recreation programs and other community-based outlets to reduce barriers to access; or
    3. 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.
Who is eligible to apply?
Public food program service providers, tribal organizations, or private nonprofit entities, including gleaners (see Definition in Appendix III of the RFA below), meeting the following four requirements are eligible to receive a CFP or PP award:
  1. They must have experience in the area of:
    1. 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;
    2. Job training and business development activities for food-related activities in low-income communities; and
    3. Efforts to reduce food insecurity in the community, including food distribution, improving access to services, or coordinating services and programs.
  2. Demonstrate competency to implement a project, provide fiscal accountability, collect data, and prepare reports and other necessary documentation;
  3. Demonstrate a willingness to share information with researchers, evaluators, practitioners, and other interested parties, including a plan for dissemination of results; and
  4. Collaborate with one or more local partner organizations to achieve at least one of the hunger-free communities’ goal. (See Steps for a Hunger-Free Community).
What are the funding levels for this program?
The anticipated amount available for Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP) in FY2021 is approximately $4,800,000. USDA is not committed to fund any particular application or to make a specific number of awards.

The Request For Applications is being released prior to passage of a full appropriations act for FY2021. Enactment of a continuing resolution or a full appropriations act may affect the availability or level of funding for this program.

  1. Community Food Projects. No single CFP award will exceed $125,000 in any single year or $400,000 over four years. Applicants may request one, two, three, or four years of funding, but in all cases, the grant term may not exceed 4 years for any proposal. A no-cost extension may be requested. A CFP project may be supported by only one grant under this program.
  2. Planning Projects. The maximum award amount for a PP award is $35,000 with a planning activity duration of up to 3 years (36 months).
Is there a match a match requirement or cost sharing?
CFP and PP applicants MUST provide matching on a dollar-for-dollar basis for all federal funds awarded. Match must be documented for all project years at the time the application is submitted. CFP and PP grantees must provide matching funds through cash and/or in-kind contributions, including third-party in-kind contributions, fairly evaluated, including facilities, equipment, or services.

The non-federal share of the funding may come from state government, local government, other non-profit entities, or private sources. Federal money cannot be used to match unless it is expressly authorized to be used for this purpose. Examples of qualifying matching contributions may include direct costs such as: rent for office space used exclusively for the funded project; duplication or postage costs; and staff time from an entity other than the applicant for job training or nutrition education.

When is the grant program timeline?
Applications are due May 4, 2021.

The Request for Applications 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 or call us at 530-893-4764.


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