Last Updated January 26, 2010
Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program
Providing grants to develop community food projects in low-income areas
This program supports the development of community food projects designed to meet the food needs of low-income people; to increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their own needs; and to promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues. It also supports efforts to meet specific state, local, or neighborhood food and agriculture needs for improving and developing infrastructure; planning for long-term solutions; or creating innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.
Other objectives of the program are to: develop linkages between two or more sectors of the food system; support the development of entrepreneurial projects; develop innovative linkages between the for-profit and nonprofit food sectors; and encourage long-term planning activities and multi-system, inter-agency collaboration.
A match of 50 percent non-federal support of the project (dollar for dollar) is required during the term of the grant. The non-federal share may be provided through payment in cash or in-kind contributions in the form of fairly evaluated facilities, equipment, or services. The non-federal share may be derived from state or local governments, or from private sources.
Can be seen at the Food Security Learning Center at: http://www.worldhungeryear.org/cfp/
Application and Financial Information
Each year the Community Food Projects program guidelines are published on www.grants.gov. The program also maintains a list of people who will be notified by e-mail about the start of the solicitation period. You may ask to be placed on this email notification list by calling or e-mailing email@example.com.
All proposal guidelines and submission deadlines are outlined in the Request for Applications. Formal proposals are submitted through www.grants.gov to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of USDA. Grant awards are announced within 5 months from the deadline for submission of proposals.
Proposals are reviewed by NIFA staff members with the assistance and advice of peer specialists and are evaluated on the basis of multiple criteria including the project's ability to:
- Help facilitate low-income people in the proposed community to provide for their own food needs
- Promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition needs
- Become self-sustaining once federal funding ends
Also reviewed will be the organizational and staff qualifications and experience of the sponsoring organization and the extent to which the proposed project contributes to:
- Developing linkages between two or more sectors of the food system
- Supporting the development of entrepreneurial projects
- Developing innovative linkages between the for-profit and nonprofit food sectors
- Encouraging long-term planning activities and multi-system, interagency approaches
- Incorporating linkages to one or more ongoing USDA themes or initiatives referred to in the program guidelines and/or annual proposal solicitation
Proposals must also indicate that projects have the dollar-for-dollar match from non-federal sources that are required for this program. Projects may be funded for 1 to 3 years. Past grants have ranged from $10,000 to $300,000. It is anticipated that it will be funded at $5 million each year through fiscal year 2012.
Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions
Proposals may be submitted by private nonprofit entities for projects involving low-income people. Because projects must promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues, applicants are encouraged to seek and create partnerships among public, private nonprofit and private for-profit organizations or firms.
To be competitive for a grant, a private nonprofit applicant should meet three requirements:
- Have experience in the area of:
- Community food work, particularly concerning small and medium-sized 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 in low-income communities;
- Demonstrate competency to implement a project, provide fiscal accountability and oversight, collect data, and prepare reports and other appropriate documentation
- Demonstrate a willingness to share information with researchers, practitioners, and other interested parties
Community food projects are intended to take a comprehensive approach to developing long-term solutions that help to ensure food security in communities by linking the food sector to community development, economic opportunity, and environmental enhancement. Comprehensive solutions may include elements such as:
- Improved access to high quality, affordable food among low-income households
- Support for local food systems, from urban gardening to local farms that provide high quality fresh food, ideally with minimal adverse environmental impact
- Expanded economic opportunities for community residents through local business or other economic development, improved employment opportunities, job training, youth apprenticeship, school-to-work transition, and the like
Any solution proposed must address community food needs.
Dr. Elizabeth Tuckermanty, Program Director
National Program Office
USDA-NIFA, Stop 2241
Washington, DC 20250-2241
Phone: (202) 205-0241