Healthy Food Access Funding Opportunities

October 7, 2021 | In the News, Other

Did you know healthy food access is one of VCC’s focus areas? We provide financing and technical assistance to support healthy food retailers, suppliers, and producers in urban and rural Virginia communities.

At VCC, we know being able to secure healthy, fresh food is one of the social determinants of health; without it, a family or community has a barrier to the quality of life they deserve. Lauren DeSimone, Community Innovation Advisor, leads VCC’s food access program, and she teams up with stakeholders across the Commonwealth to advance an equitable and inclusive food system.

Here are some state and federal funding opportunities recently announced by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

VA Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Infrastructure Program

In partnership with local governments, the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Infrastructure program competitively awards matching grants of up to $25,000 for community infrastructure development projects that support local food production and sustainable agriculture. Special reduced match requirements are available to projects in economically distressed localities, underserved communities, or for those benefiting multiple small-scale producers.

The reimbursable grants are primarily for capital projects at new and existing food hubs, farmers markets, commercial kitchens, and other value-added facilities such as those for the processing and packaging of meats, dairy products, produce, or other Virginia-grown products. Small farmers, food producers, local food systems advocates, and others interested in building their community’s local food and farming infrastructure are encouraged to learn more about the program and work with their localities to identify and develop suitable projects.

Additional information about the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Infrastructure program is available here. Questions about the program and upcoming application workshops should be directed to [email protected].

USDA Pandemic Response & Safety Grant Program

The Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant Program provides funding to help small-scale specialty crop producers and processors, other select producers, meat and other processors, distributors, and farmers markets recover costs incurred by responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including for measures to protect workers. The minimum funding request amount is $1,500. The maximum funding request amount is $20,000. No cost sharing or matching funds are required. Additional information is available here.

Reinvestment Fund HFFI Targeted Small Grants Program

Reinvestment Fund is inviting applications for financial and technical assistance through the 2021 round of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants program. The 2021 HFFI round is providing at least $4 million in grant funds for food retail and food enterprises working to improve access to healthy foods in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to revitalize low-income communities. Funding for the HFFI Targeted Small Grants program is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and authorized by the Farm Bill.

If you are planning to apply, there is an informational webinar on October 13 at 2 PM ET—no registration is required. Click here for application instructions and more information.

Learn more

Want to talk to someone about partnering with VCC to increase food access for Virginians? Contact VCC’s Community Innovation Advisor, Lauren DeSimone.

Learn more about food access financing at VCC here, or check out our Virginia Fresh Food Loan Fund here.

VCC’s work and collaboration in the food access sector was recently featured in our Reimagine Together storytelling series. Watch the video below to hear a conversation between Lauren and two of our partners in the mission to create a more equitable and inclusive food system in Virginia.