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Research Grants Drilldown: Integrated projects on Sustainable Food Systems

April 6, 2010


This is the second in a series of articles drilling down into some sections of the six Request for Applications (RFAs) recently released by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) for the 2010 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). Check out the first post about Small and Medium-Sized Farms and Rural Community Prosperity.  Over the course of this week, keep an eye out for more information on other opportunities in research on plant breeding, climate change, and organic agriculture.

Five of the six recently released AFRI RFAs focus on integrated solutions to five “societal challenge areas” which include  Childhood Obesity Prevention, Climate Change, Food Safety, Global Food Security, and Sustainable Bioenergy.

The Global Food Security Challenge Area RFA includes programs to address the availability and accessibility of food both globally and in the US.  The first four programs in the Challenge Area focus on food availability and increasing sustainable food production.  The final program in the Challenge Area addresses the issue of food accessibility.

The program, called “Improved Sustainable Food Systems to Reduce Hunger and Food Insecurity Domestically and Globally,” seeks to improve food security in vulnerable US communities and create viable local economies by developing research, education, and extension programs on local and regional food systems.  The competitive program can be considered the research counterpart to the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program which directly funds community projects.

The program area will explore best practices within existing food systems projects to better understand the basis for success or failure, assess project impacts, and provide opportunities to replicate the work.  Specific topic areas for research, education and extension can include, but are not limited to:

  • Farm-to-institution
  • Value Supply Chain
  • Financial (including cost-benefit analysis, availability of resources, financial instruments, and micro-financing)
  • Policy (including barriers and enablers of local regional sustainable food systems work and food policy councils)

Project teams must be multi-state, multi-institutional and trans-disciplinary and must draw on the expertise of both researchers and practitioners in fields including, but not limited to, community development, marketing, and sustainable agriculture.

As an integrated project, the application must include objectives in at least two of three functions: research, education, and extension, and no more than two-thirds of the project budget can focus on one function.

Proposed budgets can include up to $1,000,000 per year for five years and the program anticipates making up to five awards in FY 2010.  Eligible applicants for AFRI integrated projects include colleges and universities; 1994 Land-Grant Institutions; and hispanic-serving agricultural colleges and universities. These institutions are encouraged to work closely with community based organizations in their projects.

Letters of Intent are due April 30, 2010 and Full Proposals are due on June 29, 2010.

Access the full RFA.

For more information on this program, contact Dr. Elizabeth Tuckermanty, 202-205-0241, etuckermanty@nifa.usda.gov.

AFRI programs are currently seeking qualified experts to serve on review panels. If you do not plan to apply for a grant in this program in 2010, consider serving on a review panel.


Categories: Grants and Programs, Local & Regional Food Systems, Research, Education & Extension, Rural Development


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