November 22, 2013
Yesterday, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced 26 awardees from 15 states and the District of Columbia for the 2013 Community Food Project (CFP) competitive grant program.
Administered by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and launched in 1996, the Community Food Project program seeks to fight hunger and food insecurity through community-driven food systems, specifically in low-income communities. Community Food Project awards have funded projects in more than 400 communities in 48 states in the program’s 17-year history.
A total of $4.87 million in funding were granted to the new awardees, whose projects include community gardens, a food distribution network for local farmers, and youth run farm stands, among others.
NSAC congratulates all the awardees and applauds USDA’s work on a program that “has demonstrated that local food can be part of a successful strategy to address hunger and increase healthy food access,” according to Secretary Vilsack.
In particular, we congratulate four NSAC member groups who received awards today:
Angelic Organics Learning Center, based in Illinois, which will work with the Rockford, Illinois Urban Training Farm and Enterprise Center on new farmer training.
Growing Power, based in Chicago, Illinois, which, in partnership with Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), Southside Education and Economic Development Systems (SEEDS), KLEO Center, Chicago Park District, CHA and the City of Chicago, are working on a new farmer training and entrepreneurial program, “Farmers for Chicago,” that aims to help emerging urban farmers with capital and land access, business plan development, further training in urban agriculture, and mentoring as they create innovative business models that will increase fresh food access through the City. Growing Power is also working on distributing local, Chicago-grown produce through its “Healthy Corner Stores” program and new and expanded grocery stores in Chicago’s south and west sides.
Erika Allen, Chicago and National Projects Director of Growing Power says that CFP funding will help “support the development of an urban agriculture industry that creates new farmers who produce and distribute hyper-local, affordable and culturally appropriate food to families and communities in all Chicago neighborhoods.”
Illinois Stewardship Alliance, which is developing a three-year plan called the Springfield Urban Agriculture Implementation Plan focused on the East side of Springfield, Illinois, a community with high poverty rates and limited food access. The plan will provide low-income households with the means to grow some of their own food and provide families with skills training in food preparation and job seekers with training and employment opportunities in agriculture, culinary arts, food service, and related fields. The project will also help to develop an urban agriculture incubator project.
Lindsay Record, Program Director with the Illinois Stewardship Alliance says that the CFP award “allows us to do something that we have wanted to do for years – bring together key community members working on community gardens and workforce development, to build healthy communities and empower low-income families.”
Land Stewardship Project (LSP), which, in partnership with Hope Community (Hope), a neighborhood development organization that owns affordable housing units in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is convening a team of community members and LSP farmer leaders to plan a third urban agriculture space in conjunction with Hope’s new 200 unit apartment building in Minneapolis.
Anna Cioffi, Program Organizer for LSP’s work on Community Based Food Systems says that CFP funding helps them “bridge the gap between urban and rural farmers to create dialogue and action towards a sustainable, socially just food system.”
As evident by the awardees showcased above, CFP is an important program for building food security, local agriculture, and job opportunities through innovative and collaborative initiatives.
A full list of 2013 CFP awardees is available here.
Farm Bill CFG Decisions Pending
Among several programs with funding decisions on the line in the current federal farm bill talks, CFP would receive $10 million per year in the future under the House version of the farm bill, but remain at the current level of $5 million per year under the Senate bill. Meanwhile, the Senate version but not the House version would increase the maximum grant term from 3 to 5 years. NSAC is urging the House funding level and the Senate grant term change be included in the final farm bill.
With the clock ticking and the Farm Bill conference making progress towards an agreement on a final Farm Bill, NSAC urges the conferees to move quickly towards passage of a Farm Bill so that CFP and other programs can continue supporting successful, local food initiatives around the country.