Public Release: 

USDA aims to improve food and nutrition education for low-income communities

National Institute of Food and Agriculture

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2017 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced support to develop local and self-reliant food systems, such as farm to table enterprises, which bring nutritious food to low-income communities. This funding is available through NIFA's Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

"This program reaches into neighborhoods across America to improve access to food and nutriton education, assist community outreach, and empower local farms," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "These NIFA investments help communities develop field to fork food systems that provide long-term community solutions."

The primary goals of the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFP) are to meet the food needs of low-income individuals, increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their food needs, promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues, and meet specific state, local, or neighborhood food and agricultural needs. Grants aim to bring together stakeholders from the distinct parts of the food system and foster understanding of national food security trends and how they might improve local food systems.

In fiscal year 2017, 35 grants totaling $8.6 million were awarded through the CFP program. They are:

Community Food Projects

United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, New London, Connecticut, $35,000 Liberty`s Kitchen Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana, $33,890 Columbia Center For Urban Agriculture, Columbia, Missouri, $35,000 United Way of the Midlands, Omaha, Nebraska, $34,001 Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, Nebraska, $35,000 Capital Roots, Troy, New York, $35,000 South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs, Columbia, South Carolina, $35,000 People Incorporated of Virginia, Abingdon, Virginia, $24,078 Community Action Center, Pullman, Washington, $35,000

Planning Projects

Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Sitka, Alaska, $69,976 Uncommon Good, Claremont, California, $400,000 Community Services Unlimited Inc., Los Angeles, California, $400,000 Project Worthmore, Aurora, Colorado, $400,000 Re:Vision International, Denver, Colorado, $374,935 LiveWell Colorado, Denver, Colorado, $130,268 Nationals Youth Academy, Washington, D.C., $341,768 Beaches Emergency Assistance, Jacksonville Beach, Florida, $276,738 Tanner Medical Center Inc., Carrollton, Georgia, $399,790 Waimanalo Market Co-op, Waimanalo, Hawaii, $304,960 The Kohala Center Inc., Kamuela, Hawaii, $347,802 Kentucky Association of Food Banks, Berea, Kentucky, $400,000 St. Mary`s Regional Medical Center, Lewiston, Maine, $400,000 Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, St. Paul, Minnesota, $396,372 Springfield Community Gardens, Springfield, Missouri, $375,000 Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration, Brooklyn, New York, $239,140 Massachusetts Avenue Project, Buffalo, New York, $389,088 Lantern Community Services Inc., New York, New York, $398,200 High Desert Food & Farm Alliance, Bend, Oregon, $361,988 Southside Community Land Trust, Providence, Rhode Island, $397,939 International Rescue Committee Inc., Dallas, Texas, $374,495 Richmond City Health District, Richmond, Virginia, $166,100 Tricycle Gardens, Richmond, Virginia, $105,618 Project GROWS Inc., Staunton, Virginia, $249,190.00 Helping Overcome Poverty`s Existence Inc., Wytheville, Virginia, $240,000 Action Resources International Laramie, Wyoming, $398,664

Project details can be found at the NIFA website.

One of the new projects, the Waimanalo Market Co-op in Waimanalo, Hawaii, will involve connecting local farmers with their communities to provide better access to culturally accepted foods, increasing the number of farmers, and educating citizens about eating healthier by making better food choices.

Since 1996, Community Food Projects have awarded approximately $101 million to organizations nationwide. Among previously funded projects, the City Schoolyard Garden, Inc., in Charlottesville, Virginia, helps local communities work together to educate their neighbors about healthy eating and local food choices. These efforts have created a food system for all citizens, regardless of background or neighborhood. The Fayette County Community Action Agency, Inc. (FCCAA) is developing the Republic Food Enterprise Center (RFEC) in Republic, Pennsylvania, to connect producers and growers, retailers, and consumers. They also create a support system to develop sustainable businesses within the food system.

NIFA's mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. NIFA's investments in transformative science directly support the long-term prosperity and global preeminence of U.S. agriculture. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural sciences, visit http://www.nifa.usda.gov/Impacts, sign up for updates, and follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAImpacts.

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