Last week the USDA posted a call for applications to its Community Food Project (CFP) Competitive Grants Program. If you are thinking of starting a community food project, such as a community garden, food pantry, nutrition and food education program, or other community-focused projects addressing needs of access, security, awareness, and support of local agriculture, there is funding available.
The CFP funds three types of grants: (1) Community Food Projects (CFP), (2) Planning Projects (PP) and (3) Training and Technical Assistance (T & TA) Projects. The program’s primary goals 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
- 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
- Support the creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers
Applications are due by Monday November 20th, 2015. For assistance in crafting a proposal specific to the CFP, the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project has put together this comprehensive grant writing guide.
Grant funding is one of the most significant ways the USDA supports local food systems, connecting the federal to the local, and these resources should be pursued by all those inspired to serve their local food communities. By utilizing and showing interest in these federally funded resources, it shows the legislature and the agency that these funding allocations are vital to food systems needs and should be kept for future use. Every dollar is a vote, and every vote can be put towards critical fiscal support for important work in our local communities going forward.