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Funding Opportunities

Many private and public financial resources are available that address a wide variety of food access concerns. Some resources support general initiatives, while others are very specific. Unless otherwise noted, all programs below are available nationwide.

General Food Access

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)
Supporting Agency: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Research, education, and extension grants focused on:

  • Combating childhood obesity
  • Improving rural economies
  • Increasing food production
  • Creating new sources of energy
  • Mitigating the impacts of climate variability
  • Addressing water availability issues
  • Ensuring food safety and security
  • Training the next generation of agricultural workforce

Farm Aid
Grants awards to nonprofit agencies working with local farmers and addressing food systems change. Also works directly with farmers.

Healthy Food Access Portal: Financing
Compilation of targeted healthy food financing resources including grants, loans, and other financial incentives. Examples include:

  • Job creation and retention
  • Public health
  • Small business development
  • Agricultural production

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: Farm Bill Programs & Grants
List of opportunities available to farmers and/or organizations that work with farms and food-related businesses, including:

  • Beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers
  • Conservation and environment
  • Credit and crop insurance
  • Food safety
  • Local and regional food systems
  • Organic production
  • Renewable energy
  • Rural development
  • Sustainable and organic research

Rural Community Development Initiative Grants (RCDI)
Supporting Agency: USDA Rural Development
Opportunities available to:

  • Nonprofit housing organizations
  • Nonprofit community development organizations
  • Low-income rural communities
  • Federally recognized tribes

To support rural communities in developing:

  • Housing
  • Community facilities
  • Community and economic development projects

Seeds of Native Health: A Campaign for Indigenous Nutrition
Supporting Agency: Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
Campaign supporting organizations and programs that increase American Indians' access to fresh, healthy food and improve their overall wellness.

Food Systems

Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP)
Supporting Agency: USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture
Targeted to community food projects that help promote the self-sufficiency of low-income communities, focusing on bringing together the entire food system to identify strengths, develop partnerships, and cultivate community-wide sufficiency.

Grassroots Organizing for Social Change
Supporting Agency: Ben & Jerry's Foundation
Awards grants to nonprofit organizations with the overarching goal of advancing social and environmental justice while supporting sustainable and just food systems.

Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant
Supporting Agency: USDA Rural Development
Technical assistance grants provided to cooperatives and Cooperative Development Centers working with socially disadvantaged groups. The cooperative or center can be located in any area, but the groups assisted must be located in an eligible rural area.

Production and Processing

Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP)
Supporting Agency: USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
Grants that support regional food businesses to increase access to and consumption of locally and regionally produced agricultural products and to cultivate new opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. Planning grants are available as well as implementation grants. Eligible applicants include:

  • Agricultural businesses and cooperatives
  • Producer networks and associations
  • Community supported agriculture networks and associations
  • Other agricultural business entities (for-profit groups)
  • Nonprofit and public benefit corporations
  • Economic development corporations
  • Regional farmers market authorities
  • Local and tribal governments

One Step Community Garden
Geographic Coverage: Gardens in the Hy-Vee trade area
Supporting Agency: Hy-Vee, Inc.

Small grants supporting local gardens with community engagement, donation, and education. Money can be used for materials such as seeds and supplies or garden upgrades.

SeedMoney Crowdgrants
Geographic Coverage: Global
An organization that assists in starting up and sustaining public food gardens. Provides grants, crowdfunding, and technical assistance in planning.

School-Based

Farm to School Grant Program
Supporting Agency: USDA Food and Nutrition Service
Assists eligible entities in implementing farm-to-school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools.

FoodCorps
Geographic Coverage: Currently is partnering with Washington, D.C. and 17 states (AZ, AR, CA, CT, GA, HI, IA, ME, MA, MI, MS, MT, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OR), each of which applied to be a FoodCorps partner.
Part of the AmeriCorps network, FoodCorps volunteers are assigned to work in at-risk schools to lead an effort to create a culture of health by providing lessons to students as well as creating a cafeteria that encourages smart, healthy choices.

KidsGardening
A nonprofit organization providing grant funding, curricula, lesson plans, and general support on how to teach kids through gardening.

Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program (SPECA)
Supporting Agency: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Grant opportunity that seeks to train the next generation of food, agriculture, natural resources and human (FANH) scientists as well as cultivate relationships between secondary schools and higher education programs.

National School Garden Program (NSGP)
Supporting Agency: Slow Food USA
The NSGP provides technical assistance, resources, and partnerships to schools so they can educate their students on growing, cooking, and enjoying real food.

Unprocessed Fruits & Vegetables
Supporting Agency: USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
A pilot project that allows school meal programs to request additional support to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables using entitlement funds.

Whole Kids Foundation
Geographic Coverage: Nationwide, Canada, U.K.
Grant opportunities and free educational materials that address building healthy eating habits and growing gardens.

Retail-Based

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI)
Supporting Agency: U.S. Department of the Treasury
Financial lending opportunities that support economic and community development in low-income and distressed communities.

Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP)
Supporting Agency: USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
Grants that support regional food businesses to increase access to and consumption of locally and regionally produced agricultural products and to cultivate new opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. Planning grants are available as well as implementation grants. Eligible applicants include:

  • Agricultural businesses and cooperatives
  • Producer networks and associations
  • Community supported agriculture networks and associations
  • Other agricultural business entities (for-profit groups)
  • Nonprofit and public benefit corporations
  • Economic development corporations
  • Regional farmers market authorities
  • Local and tribal governments

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
Supporting Agency: USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
Compiled list of USDA's efforts focused on developing local and regional food systems.

Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI)
Supporting Agency: USDHHS, USDA, U.S. Department of Treasury
HFFI expands access to nutritious food in underserved communities by funding efforts such as developing and equipping grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores, and farmers markets selling healthy food.

Rural Energy for America Program
Supporting Agency: USDA Rural Development
Loan and grant program supporting agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or energy efficiency improvements.

See additional funding opportunities addressing Rural Hunger and Access to Healthy Food.

Resources to Learn More

Farm Sustainability
Website
Nonprofit organization that helps family farmers transition to financially viable, sustainable farm operations by providing technical assistance, developing tools and resource, and advocating in favor of beneficial policies.
Organization(s): Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI)