Healthy food and food access initiatives are most successful when those communities most impacted are not only active participants, but also leaders in the transformation efforts. The Community Food Projects (CFP) competitive grants program awards grants to eligible nonprofits, tribal organizations, and food program service providers to promote self-sufficiency and increase food security in low-income communities by developing comprehensive, community-based solutions. Projects vary in scope, ranging from community gardens with market stands to marketing and consumer cooperatives, but all must involve low-income participants.
CFP is a competitive grants program that is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Grants are intended to help eligible nonprofits, tribal organizations, and food program service providers in need of a one-time infusion of federal assistance for projects that promote self-sufficiency and food security in low-income communities. These one-time grants require a dollar-for-dollar (1:1) match in resources, which can include in-kind support.
CFP grants fund projects that:
Examples of CFP projects include, but are not limited to: community food assessments, GIS analysis, community gardens with market stands, value chain projects, food hubs, farmers markets, farm-to-institution projects, and marketing and consumer cooperatives.
Public food program service providers, tribal organizations, and private nonprofit entities meeting the following requirements are eligible to receive a CFP grant:
Since 1996, CFP has provided nearly $100 million in grants to hundreds of local food security projects. CFP awards have funded projects in more than 400 communities in 48 states over the program’s 23-year history.
For example, CFP grants have been used to:
Read more about recent CFP awardees by viewing a list of previous grants:
NIFA typically releases a Request for Applications (RFA) once a year. Applicants are usually given one month to complete and submit their applications to NIFA, using the online system grants.gov. Proposals are then reviewed by panel of experts, including producers, consumers, educators, and extension specialists, and evaluated for relevance, applicant experience, and overall impact of the project.
Interested applicants can find out more about program and application requirements, future RFAs, and how to apply for funding via USDA’s CFP program page.
NIFA also actively recruits farmers, community food advocates, and non-profit leaders to serve on the Peer Review Panel for CFP. Contact the National Program Leader listed in the RFA for more details on serving on the panel, or check out our toolkit on serving as grant reviewer.
To learn more about CFP and other USDA programs that increase healthy food access, check out the following resources:
CFP was established in the 1996 Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act and has been reauthorized in every subsequent farm bill. The 2014 Farm Bill amended the program in several ways including: allowing “gleaners” to be eligible to receive funding, requesting that projects achieve at least one hunger-free community goal, and expanding the period of grants from 3 to 5 years.
In the 2014 Farm Bill CFP saw a sizable increase in funding – from $5 million per year to $9 million per year in mandatory funding. Unfortunately, the 2018 Farm Bill subsequently cut CFP’s funding back down to $5 million per year in mandatory funding.
|Fiscal Year||Total Funding Available (in millions)|
|5 yr total||$25|
|10 yr total||$50|
Section 4017 of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 amends Section 25 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, to be codified at 7 U.S.C. Section 2034
Last updated in June 2019.