USDA Food Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) 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, N.Y. 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 U.S. 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, Calif., $299,810
Hart Community Homes, Inc., Fullerton, Calif., $400,000
Huerta del Valle – Ontario, Calif., $400,000
Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County, Paso Robles, Calif., $399,815
Planting Justice, Oakland, Calif., $364,800
Mandela Marketplace, Inc. – Oakland, Calif., $248,460
Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc. – Apopka, Fla., $250,000
Global Growers Network, Inc., Avondale Estates, Ga., $26,504
Kona Pacific Public Charter School – Kealakekua, Hawaii., $270,277
Kansas City Good Food Hub, Inc. – Bronson, Kan., $124,892
Berea College – Berea, Ky., $375,000
Somali Bantu Community Lewistown of Maine – Lewiston, Maine., $394,851
Crossroads Community Food Network, Inc., Takoma Park, Md., $298,209
Third Sector New England, Inc., Boston, Mass., $499,697
Mill City Grows, Inc. – Lowell, Mass., $400,000
Community enCompass DBA Bethany Housing Ministries, Muskegon, Mich., $35,000
Youthprise – Minneapolis, Minn., $400,000
Youth Farm and Market Project – Minneapolis, Minn., $301,766
The Food Group Minnesota, New Hope, Minn., $349,221
HoChunk Community Development Corporation, Winnebago, Neb., $34,019
Isles, Inc., Trenton, N.J., $34,821
Presbyterian Healthcare Services – Albuquerque, N.M., $400,000
Lantern Community Services, Inc., New York, N.Y., $35,000
Foodlink, Inc. – Rochester, N.Y., $125,000
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Manson, N.C. $328,223
Franklinton Gardens – Columbus, Ohio., $135,010
Trumbell Neighborhood Partnership, Warren, Ohio, $31,551
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma – Durant, Okla., $399,864
ACCESS – Medford, Ore., $375,000
Fayette County Community Action – Uniontown, Pa., $297,730
Rural Resources, Inc., Greeneville, Tenn., $374,976
Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe – Kingston, Wash., $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.

USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) Initiative coordinates the Department’s work to develop strong local and regional food systems. USDA has invested over $1 billion in more than 40,000 local food businesses and infrastructure projects. See more details by state on the KYF2 Compass. Additional information about USDA work to support local and regional food systems, including by increasing SNAP access at farmers markets, can be found online at New Markets, New Opportunities (link is external).

To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit