USDA Announces $9 Million to Support Community Food Projects Program

Illinois is a rich agricultural state, but it also is deficient in growing fruits and vegetables for human consumption. From a 2010 study, $14.6 billion were spent annually on fruits and vegetables in Illinois, with less than 5% of that expenditure produced in Illinois.  Most of what is consumed in Illinois came from more than fifteen hundred miles away.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of $9 million in funding to assist low-income individuals and communities in developing local and independent food systems.

NIFA is funding the grants through the Community Food Projects program (CFP), authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill). CFP’s aim is to provide the opportunity for low-income communities to become more self-reliant and take control of their own food systems. CFP projects create food systems that are economically equitable and socially and environmentally sustainable, providing real solutions for communities most in need.

Grants are intended to help eligible, private, nonprofit entities in need of a one-time installment of federal assistance to establish and carry out multipurpose community food projects. Projects are funded from $10,000 to $400,000 and up to 36 months. All grants require a dollar-for-dollar match in resources.

Applications are due March 17, 2015. For program requirements and to request an application, go to: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/communityfoodprojects.cfm.

CFP is an important part of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, which works to strengthen and support local and regional food systems. More information on the initiative, including an interactive map of CFP and other federally-supported local food projects, can be found at: www.usda.gov/knowyourfarmer.

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