U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grant Program
The Food Safety Outreach Competitive Grant Program will support projects that develop and implement 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. The program will focus on, but not be limited to, projects that address knowledge and resource gaps for target audiences and/or providing technical assistance to those responding to industry challenges such as pre- and post-harvest water testing and sampling, soil amendments, developing supply chain programs, and/or developing food safety plans. Proposals that address bilingual and culturally sensitive training resources are encouraged.
The Program will support projects from local communities, including those from community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, food hubs, farm cooperatives, land-grant universities, extension, and other local groups. Three project types will be supported:
- Pilot projects: These projects will support the development of food safety education and outreach programs in local communities that address the needs of small, specialized audiences whose education needs have not previously been adequately addressed. Pilot 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: These projects will support the growth and expansion of already-existing food safety education and outreach programs currently offered in local communities. These projects will enable existing programs to reach a broader target audience, provide technical assistance and/or to expand to new audiences. These projects will enable existing education and training curricula to be modified to ensure they are consistent with new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) (www.fda.gov/fsma) rules and to ensure that they meet the needs of expanded audiences. New audiences may include those from a variety of agricultural production and processing systems.
- Regional Center Projects: These projects will help build a national infrastructure for food safety outreach by supporting Regional Centers in the Northeast, North Central, Southern, and Western Regions as defined by NIFA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (http://www.sare.org/). One of the four Regional Centers will be designated as the Lead Regional Center responsible for national coordination, communication and assessment. Grants will support the infrastructure of the program by coordinating information within and among the four regions to ensure that best practices for FSMA-related training, education, and technical assistance within local communities are translated to a national audience. Regional Center projects will ensure that there is continued education and training for a cadre of regional FSMA trainers and continue to provide trainings for both growers and processors. Further, the Regional Center projects will focus on development of implementation plans for extending technical assistance to the targeted audiences of farmers, processors and vendors in the respective regions. The implementation plan must include collaborations with non-governmental and community-based organizations with an established track record of working with target audiences. Implementation plans must address efforts to develop and modify food safety training curricula to meet new FSMA rules for a variety of agricultural production and processing systems. In addition, the implementation plan must include a continuity plan to seamlessly coordinate with currently active Regional Centers to avoid gaps in collaboration and communication across the region.
Amount: A total of $6,600,000 is available to make awards, as follows:
- Pilot Projects: Awards range from $25,000-$50,000 per award for up to 13 awards
- Community Outreach Projects: Awards range from $80,000-$150,000 per award for up to 6 awards
- Regional Center Projects: Awards range up to $800,000 each for 4 awards; an additional $200,000 will be awarded to one Lead Regional Center Project
Grantees must match awarded funds with cash and in-kind contributions on a dollar-for-dollar basis from non-federal sources. The matching funds requirement may be waived under certain circumstances (see the solicitation for specific details).
Eligibility: Applications may be submitted by:
- 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 have 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 or a foundation maintained by an institution of higher education
- A collaboration of two or more eligible entities
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