Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Community Food Project (CFP) awards
. These awards support organizations using local food to develop community-based solutions to address food insecurity and increase access to healthy food in low-income communities.
"The Community Food Projects program has demonstrated that local food can be part of a successful strategy to address hunger and increase healthy food access," said Vilsack. "This year's grantees continue that tradition while representing exciting innovations and ideas. I look forward to seeing how their work will support our country's farmers, expand local food opportunities, and increase healthy food access for generations to come."
Vilsack noted that the future of this program is connected to the current debate over a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. "Community Food Projects are a perfect example of how America's farmers and communities rely on Farm Bill programs to meet new markets, increase economic opportunities for farmers and ranchers, and address hunger."
This year's CFP awards total $4.87 million in funding to 26 projects in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Some highlights include:
in Chicago, Ill., through its Farmers for Chicago initiative, will provide training and coaching for local food project operators in order to build the long-term capacity of low-income, underserved populations to produce high-quality, culturally appropriate food throughout Chicago.
in Philadelphia, Pa., will support the Common Market Food Hub, a food distribution network that will create new market opportunities for local farmers while empowering low-income residents to address their own food needs.
The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp.
in Youngstown, Ohio, will convert underutilized land into the Iron Roots Urban Farm, a community garden for local residents. The Urban Farm will also serve as a high-level training facility, employing low-income residents and developing sustainable, long-term business opportunities for the community.
in New York, N.Y., will use its award to operate several programs, including Youthmarket, a network of youth-run farmstands; the Fresh Food Box, a group buying program for fresh, local produce; and a Healthy Retail program to bring fresh local food into neighborhood bodegas and corner stores.
Community Food Project awards have funded more than 400 communities in 48 states in the program's 17-year history. They are a cornerstone of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
initiative, which coordinates the department's support for local and regional food systems. Previous Community Food Project awards are featured on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass Map
, which is searchable by zip code and keyword.
A complete list of Community Food Project grantees is available here: www.nifa.usda.gov/newsroom/news/2013news/cfp_grantees.html
Expanding the availability of healthy food to all Americans, while providing science-based nutrition information and advice, is a key focus of USDA's nutrition assistance programs and the Obama administration. USDA is focused on strategies that empower families to make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles.
Read more about how the Farm Bill supports local and regional food systems