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USDA NIFA Invests $4.8 Million in Community Food Projects

Through a network of stakeholders from various parts of the food system, community food projects increase communities’ food and nutrition security by supporting people through  small to medium farmers, producers and processors in urban, rural, tribal, and insular areas. The program provides communities a voice in food system decisions and supports local food markets to fully benefit the community, increase food and nutrition security and stimulate local economies. These projects meet specific state, tribal, insular, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs for infrastructure improvement and development, while reducing barriers to food access and increasing food and nutrition security for communities across the nation. Twenty One (21) Community Foods Projects applications were funded from the fiscal year 2023 Request for Applications competition.

Examples of projects being funded include the following:

Rural Alaska Community Action Program, INC. Anchorage, Alaska – Rural Cap Growing Rural Opportunities for Wellness (Grow) operational since 1965, will continue to be a hub where low-income families and individuals in Alaska can access knowledge and expertise to grow food. The project will increase access to fresh, nutritional foods through local food production, with the goal of sustaining the activities beyond the funding period. The project will support infrastructure for long-term, sustainable community engagement around food production. This program will help provide a straight-forward services while centering various traditions to improve community’s food security.

Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, INC. Chatham, Massachusetts – Founded in 1991, this organization’s project is investing in sustaining local fishing communities through education, advocacy, and community-based programs including the Cape Cod fish Share which will connect consumers with super fresh seafood caught by local fishermen. This project will engage families of pre-school children to determine how to best encourage more local fish consumption and build support and awareness of the family-run fishing fleet of the Cape Cod region. The project will also strengthen a year-round workforce and provide an early introduction to careers in the Blue Economy for the community.

Elepaio Social Services Waianae, Hawaii – Hawaii Ai O Waianae project will build on its strengths of serving the community since 1977. This project has two main goals. First, build community capacity to address community-identified issues with the food system and second, to expand access of fresh, locally produced food and healthy food incentive programs to the Ewa community. These two goals will focus on meeting agricultural needs for infrastructure improvement and development, and reducing barriers to food access and increasing food and nutrition security for the community.

National Center for Frontier Communities Silver City, New Mexico – This project will work with the local farmers and food producers to supply the local community with healthy, fresh food. While helping the local community this project ensures viable agriculture techniques. The frontier food hub activities are aimed at equity, abundance, and inclusivity in establishing a sufficient system. The Frontier Food Hub will provide multiple services to ensure and encourage food justice and healthy eating habits. The project will build on the existing momentum of a food hub, catalyze deeply supportive partnerships and to further respond to community needs for more healthy food access and self-reliance. The programs established with this investment will benefit local schools and organizations in the community.

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