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United States Department of Agriculture: Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program

Deadline: March 31, 2014

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) requests applications for the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants program for fiscal year (FY) 2014 to support: (1) the development of Community Food Projects with a one-time infusion of federal dollars to make such projects self-sustaining; and (2) Planning Projects to assess the food security needs and plan long-term solutions to help ensure food security in communities.

The primary goals of the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program are to:

  • Meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, community outreach to assist in participation in Federally assisted nutrition programs, or improving access to food as part of a comprehensive service;
  • Increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for the food needs of the  communities;
  • Promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues; and
  • Meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs including needs relating to: Equipment necessary for the efficient operation of a project; Planning for long-term solutions; or the creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.

Community Food Projects are intended to bring together stakeholders from the distinct parts of the food system and to foster understanding of national food security trends and how they might improve local food systems.

Three types of grants will be funded: (1) Community Food Projects, (2) Planning Projects and (3) Training and Technical Assistance Projects.

Community Food Projects and Planning Projects should:

  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 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 foods insecurity in the future by: Developing creative foods 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.

The primary purposes of the Training and Technical Assistance Project are to assist individual organizations in the development and submission of Community Food Projects (CFP) and Planning Projects (PP) proposals and assist current program grantees to more effectively operate their projects. In 2014, NIFA will award one, large multi-year Training and Technical Assistance grant award. Collaborations among T & TA providers with broad expertise should provide a one-stop service to applicants requesting assistance. These projects should be designed to have national relevance.

Eligibility: Public food program service providers, tribal organizations, or private nonprofit entities, including gleaners, meeting the following three requirements are eligible to receive a grant:

  1. Have experience in the area of (i) 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;  (ii) job training and business development activities for food-related activities in low-income communities; or (iii) 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; and
  3. Demonstrate a willingness to share information with researchers, evaluators, practitioners, and other interested parties, including a plan for dissemination of results; and collaborate with one or more local partner organizations to achieve at least 1 hunger-free communities goal.

Amount: NIFA anticipates the amount available for support of this program in FY 2014 will be approximately $5 million. Community Food Project proposals will be funded up to $125,000 in one year or up to $300,000 over three years. The maximum grant period is three years. Planning Projects will be funded up to $25,000 for a period not to exceed three years. One Training and Technical Assistance award will be made for up to $500,000 over a two to three year period.

Community Food Project and Planning Project applicants must commit a dollar-to-dollar match through either cash or in-kind contributions.

Link: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/rfas/community_food.html

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