Community Food Projects

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Purpose of this program:

To support the development of community food projects designed to meet the food needs of low-income people; increase the self- reliance of communities in providing for their own needs; and promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

Community food projects are intended to take a comprehensive approach to developing long-term solutions that help to ensure food security in communities by linking the food sector to community development, economic opportunity, and environmental enhancement. Comprehensive solutions may include elements such as: (1) Improved access to high quality, affordable food among low-income households; (2) support for local food systems, from urban gardening to local farms that provide high quality fresh food, ideally with minimal adverse environmental impact; and (3) expanded economic opportunities for community residents through local business or other economic development, improved employment opportunities, job training, youth apprenticeship, school-to-work transition, and the like. Any solution proposed must tie into community food needs. Successful applicants must provide matching funds, either in cash or in-kind amounting to at least 50 percent of the total cost of the project during the term of the grant award.

Who is eligible to apply...

Proposals may be submitted by private nonprofit entities. Because projects must promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues, applicants are encouraged to seek and create partnership among public, private nonprofit and private for-profit organizations or firms. To be further eligible for a grant, a private nonprofit applicant must meet three mandatory requirements: 1. Have experience in the area of: (a) community food work, particularly concerning small and medium-sized farms, including the provision of food to people in low-income communities and the development of new markets in low-income communities for agricultural producers; or (b) job training and business development activities in low-income communities; 2. demonstrate competency to implement a project, provide fiscal accountability and oversight, collect data, and prepare reports and other appropriate documentation; and 3. demonstrate a willingness to share information with researchers, practitioners, and other interested parties.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:

Prior to the award of a grant, a prospective grantee organization must furnish information about the organization upon request from USDA. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

Formal proposal submission to the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service in accordance with the Community Food Projects program guidelines which will be issued annually.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

Proposals are reviewed and evaluated by CSREES staff members with the assistance and advice of peer panels of specialists who are uniquely qualified by training and experience in their respective fields to render expert advice on the merit of proposals being reviewed. Proposals are supported in order of merit to the extent permitted by available funds. Proposals recommended for funding as a result of the merit review then undergo a financial and administrative review. Upon completion of all reviews, a grant award is issued.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...


All proposal submission deadlines are announced in the proposal solicitation published in the Federal Register.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 90 to 180 days.

Preapplication Coordination

All proposal solicitations are published in the Federal Register. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102 and E.O. 12372.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.



Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).



Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

Low income people.

About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Project Grants

The funding, for fixed or known periods, of specific projects. Project grants can include fellowships, scholarships, research grants, training grants, traineeships, experimental and demonstration grants, evaluation grants, planning grants, technical assistance grants, survey grants, and construction grants.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$10,000 to $250,000.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.


(Grants) FY 03 $4,800,000; FY 04 $4,800,000; and FY 05 est $4,800,000.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification


Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Family Gardens and Neighborhood Markets-Three New Communities; Patchwork Family Farms; Value-Added Processing for Community Food Security; Native American Food Systems Project; Lowell Farming and Food Project.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

During 2001, 16 grants were awarded for projects designed to increase food security in communities by bringing the whole food system together to assess strengths, establish linkages, and create systems that improve the self-reliance of community members over their food needs.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

1. The applicability and merit of the proposed project in regard to its ability to: Meet the food needs of low-income people in the proposed community for providing for its own food needs; and promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition needs; 2. the capacity to become self-sustaining once Federal funding ends; and 3. organizational and staff qualifications and experience; and 4. additional criteria will be considered relative to the extent the proposed project contributes to: (a) developing linkages between two or more sectors of the food system; (b) supporting the development of entrepreneurial projects; (c) developing innovative linkages between the for-profit and nonprofit food sectors; (d) encouraging long-term planning activities and multi-system, interagency approaches; and (e) incorporating linkages to one or more ongoing USDA themes or initiatives referred to in the program guidelines and/or annual proposal solicitation.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

From 1 to 3 years.

Formula and Matching Requirements

There is a matching requirement of 50 percent Federal and 50 percent nonfederal support of the project during the term of the grant. The nonfederal share may be provided through payment in cash or in-kind contributions in the form of fairly evaluated facilities, equipment, or services. The nonfederal share may be derived from State or local governments, or from private sources.

A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...


Quarterly financial reports, annual progress reports, and final financial and final summary progress reports.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A- 133 (Revised, June 24, 1997), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $300,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $300,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).


Grantees must maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for the purpose for which the grant was made. All matching contributions must be verifiable in the grantee organization's records. Records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and for 3 years thereafter.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.



Food Stamp Act of 1977, Section 25, as amended; Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Section 401, Public Law 104-127.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

As set forth in the program guidelines and any resulting grant award, including 7 CFR Part 3015 (USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations); 7 CFR Part 3017 (Government wide Debarment and Suspension-Nonprocurement, and Government wide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace-Grants); 7 CFR Part 3018 (New Restrictions on Lobbying); 7 CFR Part 3019 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Nonprofit Organizations); and 7 CFR Part 3052 (Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations).

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office


Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Deputy Administrator, Competitive Research Grants and Awards Management, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250. Telephone: (202) 401-1761.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: