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USDA Invests Additional $10M to Support Community Food Projects

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced an investment of nearly $10 million through the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program (CFPCGP). This funding, made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act, bolsters USDA’s food and nutrition security efforts by promoting the self-reliance of communities in providing for the unique food needs of their community members.

Community food projects, powered by a network of stakeholders from across the food system, support 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.

CFPCGP funds projects that meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, community outreach or improved food access. The program aims to increase community self-reliance by promoting comprehensive responses to local food access, farm and nutrition issues; meeting specific state, local neighborhood food and agricultural needs including providing operating equipment; planning for long-term solutions; and creating innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.

“Community food projects are already making a tremendous impact throughout the nation by increasing access and consumption of nutritious local foods, enhancing workforce development and supporting entrepreneurship,” said Acting NIFA Director Dr. Dionne Toombs. “This funding will allow NIFA to support even more community food projects that will 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.”

The funds will be invested in 29 Community Foods Projects  from fiscal year 2022 Request for Applications submissions. The applications were highly ranked but could not be funded at the time due to budget constraints. Examples of newly funded projects include:

  • ‘Aina Ho’okupu O Kilauea in Kilauea, Hawaii, will expand the Kauai Local Food Systems Supporting Vulnerable Populations project to transform its produce box aggregation and delivery system into a sustainable, self-funded program providing 200 produce boxes per week to those in need.
  • Through its “Nourishing Acadiana: Creating a More Robust Local Food System by Empowering Local Farmers and Families,” Second Harvest in New Orleans, Louisiana, will partner with farmers, non-profit organizations, agencies and community members to achieve the common goals of linking growers and consumers; providing support for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color farmers; positively influencing health outcomes; and creating a more sustainable local food systems.
  • Preble Street, a social service agency in Portland, Maine, will collaborate with community stakeholders to improve food and nutrition security and access to local food in low-income communities and among people experiencing homelessness.
  • Just Roots, Inc., in Greenfield, Massachusetts, will expand its capacity to provide year-round healthy, local food to low-income, food-insecure populations in Western Massachusetts, serving as a link between local farms and consumers and fostering relationships between the land, food and each other.
  • The Texas Tribal Buffalo Project in Waelder, Texas, will provide Indigenous communities in South Central Texas with increased access to food and education surrounding traditional foodways.
  • Lopez Island Family Resource Center in Lopez Island, Washington, will build community food security and job opportunities within its regional food system by paying salaries at its local food bank, funding outreach efforts to encourage participation in a Food Preservation Program and a Value-Added Food Business Mentor Up project, and upgrading kitchen equipment.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2022, NIFA’s total investment was $2.2 billion.

Visit our Twitter: @USDA_NIFA and LinkedIn: USDA-NIFA. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science (searchable by state or keyword), visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts.

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