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Topic Areas: Community Food Projects

Community Food Projects

CFPs develop long-term solutions to ensure food security in communities by linking local food production and processing to the goals of community development, economic opportunity, and environmental enhancement. Such comprehensive solutions may include:

  • improving access to high-quality, affordable food among low-income households;
  • expanding economic opportunities for community residents through local businesses or other economic development, and improving employment opportunities, job training, youth apprenticeship, and school-to-work transition; and
  • supporting local food systems – from urban gardening to local farms – that provide high-quality fresh foods, ideally with minimal adverse environmental impact.

All proposed solutions must tie into community food needs. 

Project designs should integrate multiple objectives. They should address impacts beyond a specific goal, such as increasing food produced for or available to a specific group. Goals and objectives should integrate economic, social, and environmental impacts such as job training, employment opportunities, small business expansion, neighborhood revitalization, open space development, transportation assistance or other community enhancements.

Proposed projects should seek comprehensive solutions to problems across all food system levels, not just short-term food relief. This point is emphasized because some previously submitted proposals were denied funding because they were designed primarily for expanding efforts in food relief and assistance, or for connecting established or partially established programs (such as community gardens and farmers' markets), with little evidence of strategic planning and participation by stakeholders. Proposals should emphasize a food system and/or food security approach and show evidence of information sharing, coalition building, and substantial outreach and linkages to the community.

The USDA and several other federal agencies offer programs that may help strengthen the impact and success of CFPs. These include:

  • Food recovery and gleaning efforts;
  • Connecting low-income urban consumers with rural food producers;
  • Helping citizens leave public assistance and achieve self-sufficiency; and
  • Using micro-enterprise and/or development projects related to community food needs.   

The USDA administers several food and nutrition assistance programs, including the Food Stamp and commodity distribution programs, and the School Lunch, School Breakfast, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition, Child and Adult Care Food, and Summer Food Service, and commodity distribution programs. Applications may include use of these programs in connection with the proposed CFP.

Training and Technical Assistance Projects

Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) projects assist potential applicants in one or more of the following areas:

  • understanding the general grant application process;
  • understanding the purposes of the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program (CFPCGP);
  • assessing the food security needs of a community;
  • understanding the necessary components of a competitive CFPCGP proposal; and
  • understanding what constitutes an appropriate and eligible Community Food Project (CFP) under the CFPCGP.

T&TA projects provide technical assistance to successful applicants in carrying out and evaluating their projects. T&TA project participants must provide a performance report to USDA at the conclusion of the grant to delineate the relative successes of their technical assistance activities.

T&TA projects may be either national or regional in scope. Regional projects may address a particular region of the nation or a state, a particular type of activity (for example, gardening), or a particular low-income/food insecure constituency (African American or Native American organizations are examples).

T&TA services include: general capacity-building in areas such as project evaluation, leadership development, or coalition building; and assistance on a particular type of project, such as farm-to-cafeteria methods, food system assessment, food system planning, or local or regional food system development. No pilot projects will be considered for T&TA funding.

T&TA project proposals must demonstrate an applicant's technical expertise; the ability to provide training and technical assistance to applicants and/or grantees through workshops, electronic media, or other appropriate means; and the capacity or experience to assist successful applicants in carrying out their projects.

Planning Projects

The purpose of a Planning Project (PP) is to complete an assessment and to plan activities toward the improvement of community food security. PPs are to focus on a defined community and describe in detail the goals and objectives of the planning activity.

PPs are intended to take a comprehensive approach to planning for long-term solutions that ensure food security in communities by linking the food production and processing sectors to community development, economic opportunity, and environmental enhancement. PPs may explore the community's assets, opportunities, and challenges in terms of discovering food security status and may include elements such as: improved access to high quality, affordable food among low-income households; expanded economic opportunities for community residents through local businesses or other economic development, improved employment opportunities, job training, youth apprenticeship, school-to-work transition; and support for local food systems, from urban gardening to local farms, that provide high quality fresh foods with minimal adverse environmental impact.

Proposed plans must include assessing community food needs and substantially involve and/or be generated by members of the low-income community; i.e., it must be “community-based” not just “community-placed.” Low-income participants must be the participants and direct beneficiaries of planning projects.

Proposed PPs should seek to address impacts beyond a specific goal such as increasing food produced or available for a specific group. Goals and objectives should integrate economic, social, and environmental impacts such as job training, employment opportunities, small business expansion, neighborhood revitalization, open space development, transportation assistance, or other community enhancements.

Proposed PPs should be comprehensive and address all levels of the food system, not only short-term food relief. Assessing existing assets in the food system is as important as showing deficiencies and need. Proposals should emphasize a food system and/or food security approach and show evidence of information sharing, coalition building, and substantial outreach to and involvement of the community.

 

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