NIFA Awards $8.6 Million in Community Food Projects

Released by Sally Gifford,

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) on September 30, 2016, announced details on investments of $8,640,000 in 33 projects to foster self-sustaining solutions that help make healthy foods available to families living in low-income neighborhoods.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the grants at the New York Times Food for Tomorrow Conference in Pocantico Hills, New York.

The grants are funded through NIFA’s Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFP).

“Since 1996, the Community Food Projects program has empowered people in low-income communities to become more self-reliant in getting healthy, nutritious food,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. Recent USDA data indicates that we are making tremendous headway in battling hunger and food insecurity across America. With programs such as this we are able promote efforts to decrease food insecurity through healthy diets and nutrition education.”

The USDA report, Household Food Security in the United States, documents the continued decline in the estimated percentage of US households that were food insecure in 2015 to 12.7 percent from a high of 14.9 percent in 2011.

The primary goals of Community Food Projects include meeting the food needs of low-income individuals; promoting comprehensive responses to local food access, farm and nutrition issues, and addressing state, local and neighborhood food and agricultural needs such as infrastructure, long-term planning, and marketing that benefits agricultural producers and low-income consumers.

The 2016 awards include: 

  • Fairbanks Native Association, Fairbanks, Alaska — $104,754
  • Fresno Metropolitan Ministry, Fresno, California — $299,810
  • Hart Community Homes, Inc., Fullerton, California — $400,000
  • Huerta del Valle, Ontario, California — $400,000
  • Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County, Paso Robles, California — $399,815
  • Planting Justice, Oakland, California — $364,800
  • Mandela Marketplace, Inc., Oakland, California — $248,460
  • Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc., Apopka, Florida — $250,000
  • Global Growers Network, Inc., Avondale Estates, Georgia — $26,504
  • Kona Pacific Public Charter School, Kealakekua, Hawaii — $270,277
  • Kansas City Good Food Hub, Inc., Bronson, Kansas — $124,892
  • Berea College, Berea, Kentucky — $375,000
  • Somali Bantu Community Lewistown of Maine, Lewiston, Maine — $394,851
  • Crossroads Community Food Network, Inc., Takoma Park, Maryland — $298,209
  • Third Sector New England, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts — $499,697
  • Mill City Grows, Inc., Lowell, Massachusetts — $400,000
  • Community enCompass DBA Bethany Housing Ministries, Muskegon, Michigan — $35,000
  • Youthprise, Minneapolis, Minnesota — $400,000
  • Youth Farm and Market Project, Minneapolis, Minnesota — $301,766
  • The Food Group Minnesota, New Hope, Minnesota — $349,221
  • HoChunk Community Development Corporation,Winnebago, Nebraska — $34,019
  • Isles, Inc., Trenton, New Jersey — $34,821
  • Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Albuquerque, New Mexico — $400,000
  • Lantern Community Services, Inc., New York, New York — $35,000
  • Foodlink, Inc., Rochester, New York — $125,000
  • Working Landscapes, Warrenton, North Carolina —  $328,223
  • Franklinton Gardens, Columbus, Ohio — $135,010
  • Trumbell Neighborhood Partnership, Warren, Ohio — $31,551
  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Durant, Oklahoma — $399,864
  • ACCESS, Medford, Oregon — $375,000
  • Fayette County Community Action, Uniontown, Pa., $297,730
  • Rural Resources, Inc., Greeneville, Tennessee — $374,976
  • Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Kingston, Washington — $125,750

More information on these awards can be found on the NIFA website.

Among the funded projects, Franklinton Gardens, a non-profit urban farm in Columbus, Ohio, received $135,010 to collaborate with low-income urban community members to develop a neighborhood Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, educational programming and promotional and marketing activities. Rural Resources, Inc. in Greeneville, Tenn., received a $374,976 grant to educate 110 food insecure teens in both healthy lifestyle and entrepreneurship skills through activities including gardening, food preparation and preservation, farm business training and farmers market demonstrations.

Community Food Projects are 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

NIFA invests in and advances innovative and transformative research, education and extension to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel has resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that are combating childhood obesity, improving and sustaining rural economic growth, addressing water availability issues, increasing food production, finding new sources of energy, mitigating climate variability, and ensuring food safety.


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Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.