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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program

Deadline: July 6, 2016

The Office of Refugee Resettlement, within the Administration for Children and Families announces the availability of funds under the Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program (RAPP). The purpose of the RAPP is to encourage the development of agricultural and food systems related services that will improve the livelihoods — physically, economically, and psychosocially — of refugee families. This may involve refugees already engaged in some type of production or aspiring gardeners or farmers, particularly newer arrivals who have a background and interest in agriculture.

RAPP provides discretionary funds to eligible non-federal entities that support agricultural activities and the improvement of local food systems for refugees. Agricultural projects involve elements that are familiar and consistent with the agrarian backgrounds of refugee families. The agrarian and small scale farming experience of many refugee families combined with low literacy and limited English-speaking skills are conducive to making agriculture a well-known and comfortable path to supplemental income and economic self-sufficiency.

Small scale or subsistence farming experience also means that they are accustomed to doing the intensive hands-on work necessary for starting gardeners. A food system incorporates the elements of food production, distribution, marketing, and consumption that impact on the economic, health, and social wellbeing of community members. For example, an innovative way to address these systemic issues through RAPP is the development of community gardens.

Another way to increase access to fresh produce is to support the establishment and/or modification of procedures at farmers’ markets and other grocery outlets. Healthy food outlets that serve clients with eligibility for Electronic Benefits Transfer/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (EBT/SNAP), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) offer a viable option for better food and nutrition. These initiatives are supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service and Food & Nutrition Service. Under RAPP, funds can be used for organizations to deliver agricultural and food systems services that broaden their normal array of services to the vulnerable populations in their respective communities and provide the training, technical assistance and other support for some persons to become independent farm entrepreneurs.

To this purpose, the objectives of RAPP are:

  • Increase access to land and other resources for the purpose of farming
  • Incorporate relevant refugee cultural backgrounds and allow refugees to use their experience and skills in farming
  • Increase refugee knowledge and skills in nutrition and food safety for personal consumption and where relevant, processing for market
  • Increase knowledge of farming safety (e.g., food handling, safe soil amendment practices, farm equipment training, etc.)
  • Provide farming business development and training to refugees interested in pursuing farming as a means towards self-sufficiency (e.g., financial literacy training, business planning, farming recordkeeping, etc.)
  • Increase potential for supplemental income through refugee farming initiatives
  • Increase access to healthy and nutritious foods through farming—particularly in urban areas, or areas defined as food deserts by USDA
  • Increase the psychosocial development of refugees

New projects will accomplish these objectives by establishing programs that combine the skills of its clients, staff, volunteers, partners, and other resources (e.g., funding from ORR, land, equipment, etc.) to assist refugees towards the program.

Amount: $1,500,000 is available for grants of up to $100,000 each, per year for 3 years.

Eligibility: State, county, city, or special district governments; independent school districts; public and State-controlled institutions of higher education; Native American tribal governments; public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities; on-profits with and without 501(c)(3) status with the IRS; and private institutions of higher education.

Link: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/open/foa/view/HHS-2016-ACF-ORR-ZR-1141

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