10/27: Promise Zone funding opportunities, resources, events

A weekly update for the S.C. Lowcountry Promise Zone

PromiseZone_logoIn this post, you can find descriptions of new events, webinars, resources and funding opportunities that may be helpful to Promise Zone partners and supporters.

In this update are grant opportunities for community food projects, healthier food purchases, community facilities and other agriculture-related funding streams.

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WEBINAR: Farm to School program
USDA Food and Nutrition Service
Oct. 29, 2015, 11 a.m.

Join Deborah Kane, Director of the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), Office of Community Food Systems, for a review of the USDA Farm to School Program’s accomplishments and to discuss what lies ahead. Topics will include a review of new farm to school resources, preliminary results and plans for the second USDA Farm to School Census, and several new areas of emphasis, including farm to summer, farm to preschool, and incorporating traditional foods into child nutrition programs. No registration required. To join, on Thursday, October 29 at 11:00 AM EDT:

WEBINAR: Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, Know Your Cooperative
USDA Rural Development
Oct. 30, 2015, 10 a.m.

The webinar will address the growing intersection between local food systems and cooperatives. Cooperative leaders from across the local food supply chain will discuss the advantages of the cooperative business model, how they are engaged in building robust local food systems, and supply-side, distribution, market-side and consumer issues.

  • Dial:(866) 525-2577 Conference ID: 50573752. (USDA encourages participants to use computer audio and the online ‘chat’ feature instead of phone lines. )
  • RSVP Required: Send an e-mail to Community Planning and Development Specialist Scott Cessarich at Cessarich@wdc.usda.govby Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, to reserve a seat if attending in person.

WEBINAR: DOE Loan Program Support for Distributed Energy Projects
Nov. 5, 2015, 1 p.m.

The US Department of Energy, the American Council on Renewable Energy, Stern Brothers, The Willdan Group and B2BWebinars.com are pleased to announce the upcoming webinar, DOE Loan Program Support for Distributed Energy Projects.

WEBINAR: Brief on telehealth and intimate partner violence
Nov. 5, 2015, 2 p.m.

Following the Fall 2014 meeting in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services sent two policy briefs to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. One policy brief covered the use of telehealth in rural areas and how this technology aligns with the emerging focus on value in healthcare and the second covered the impact of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) on families and communities in rural areas. Speakers include former Miss. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.


USDA-NIFA Community Food Projects (CFP) Competitive Grants Program
Deadline: November 30, 2015

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture requests applications for three types of grants under its Community Food Projects (CFP) Program: Community Food Projects, Planning Projects, and Training and Technical Assistance Projects. The goals of the projects are to meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, community outreach or through increasing local food security.

$16.8 million available in Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant Program
Deadline: Dec. 16, 2015

This U.S. Department of Agriculture program seeks to support projects that increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase.

  • Grant name: Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program
  • Amount available: $16.8 million in total program funds.
  • General eligibility requirements: Government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the implementation of the project
  • Cost share: 50% cash or in-kind
  • RFP info: http://nifa.usda.gov/sites/default/files/rfa/FY%2016%20FINI_to%20POST.pdf

Funding for community facilities
Deadline: Jan. 8, 2016

USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Programs serve non-profits and public bodies located in rural areas of up to 20,000 in population. Use our loans and grants to renovate, repair, purchase or construct buildings which house community services.  A non-profit or public body may use the loan or grant to purchase equipment, furniture and fixtures for community facilities.

USDA-AMS Specialty Crop Multi-State Program
Deadline: Jan. 14, 2016

The USDA announced that they will make $3 million available for the Specialty Crop Multi-State Program. The program is a competitive funding opportunity for State departments of agriculture to fund collaborative, multi-state projects that address regional or national specialty crop issues. Projects may include: food safety, plant pests and disease, research, crop-specific projects addressing common issues and marketing and promotion.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education – Multiple grant opportunities
Deadline: Varies by state and project

The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) funds a range of research and education projects for farmers, ranchers, extension agents, nonprofits, students, and communities, among others. Grant funding and availability vary per state, but grants have been awarded to a range of projects including on-farm renewable energy, sustainable communities, local and regional food systems, cover crops, and more.



White House Updates Strategy to Bolster U.S. Innovation Economy

This week, the National Economic Council and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released an update to the White House strategy document on fueling the U.S. innovation economy. A Strategy for American Innovation includes a model of the nation’s innovation engine that sheds some light on how the federal government views its role in research and economic growth. For example, digital government initiatives play a key role, alongside investing in basic research, digital infrastructure and STEM education.  In a related post, OSTP framed the release as the culmination of several weeks of events around the idea of open innovation. The strategy emphasizes the use of crowd-based models and prizes for scientific breakthroughs.

  • Read A Strategy for American Innovation here.

Prevalence of food insecurity varied by household characteristics in 2014

While the majority of U.S. households are food secure, a minority experience food insecurity at times during the year, meaning their access to adequate food for active, healthy living is limited by a lack of money or other resources. Some households experience very low food security, a more severe range of food insecurity, where food intake of one or more household members is reduced and normal eating patterns are disrupted. Food insecurity includes both very low food security and low food security. In 2014, 14.0 percent of all U.S households were food insecure. The prevalence of food insecurity was substantially higher for low-income households; 39.6 percent of households with incomes below the Federal poverty line were food insecure. Among all U.S. households, food insecurity rates were the highest for single-mother households (35.3 percent) and lowest for households with elderly members (8.9 percent).

Connecting the Dots between Health and Healthy Economies

Biddeford, Maine, was the focus of a video produced by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention that connected the dots between health programs and a healthy economy in that Heart & Soul town.
Learn how health programs there are helping small businesses make simple, affordable changes to improve employee health, staff retention, and the business owner’s bottom line.

  • Watch the short video here.

Local Food Marketplace Releases White Paper: Avoiding Sales Around the Hub

Local Food Marketplace addresses a challenge facing hubs: producers selling around the hub. According to their research, producers may find alternate avenues for selling their goods for several reasons, often stemming from the hub not meeting the producer’s expectations or the hub and the producer not being a good fit at the time. The report discusses advice for overcoming this challenge and includes a section devoted to best practices for food hub/producer agreements.

 AGree Report Takes 360 Look at Local Foods

AGree recently released their report, Local Food: Revitalizing Community-based Food Systems, which examines the growth, challenges and opportunities facing local food systems. The report not only emphasizes the ever-increasing consumer demand for local food, but also delivers six recommendations to stakeholders, US government agencies, philanthropic organizations, and research institutions to embrace diverse agricultural systems and further develop and adapt programs and regulations to serve local food systems.

Fact Sheet: USDA Invests in New Market Opportunities in Local and Regional Food Systems

Over the course of the Administration, USDA has created new economic opportunities in the growing market for local and regional foods for new and established farmers, ranchers and small food business entrepreneurs. Through investments at the farm level in the form of production research, credit and conservation assistance; infrastructure investments that connect farmers and consumers; and strategies to increase access to healthy foods in rural and urban communities, USDA has helped the market for local food grow to an estimated $11.7 billion in 2014. Between FY 2009 and FY 2014, USDA invested more than $800 million in more than 29,100 local and regional food businesses and infrastructure projects.



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