In addition to USDA’s funding sources provided above, other Federal agencies may have funding opportunities that support Farm to School activities. Listed below are a few examples of such opportunities.
- Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) funds are awarded to State and local agencies and governmental entities (such as economic development authorities), local governing boards (such as county councils), and nonprofit organizations (such as school districts). Contracts are awarded for research on topics that directly impact economic development in the Appalachian Region. Projects can focus on business development, community infrastructure and training.
- Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBGP)
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) began the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBGP) in 1974 and now is one of the longest continuously run programs at HUD. The CDBGP is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. The CDBGP is designed to create jobs through the expansion and retention of local businesses. This program provides support for business planning, construction, equipment purchase, training and technical assistance. Grantees must develop a plan that encourages citizen participation and address community development needs. The development of a food hub, growers’ cooperative or local processing facility to promote local foods in schools may meet the criteria for this grant.
- Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund
The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund was established by the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 to promote economic revitalization in low-income communities. The purpose of the CDFI Program is to use federal resources to invest in CDFIs and to build their capacity to serve low-income people and communities that lack access to affordable financial products and services. CDFIs may use the funds to pursue a variety of goals, including economic development promotion and business development. CDFI Funds provide an opportunity for business developments, such as food hubs and cooperatives that may enhance farm to school efforts.
- Community Economic Development (CED) Program
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Economic Development (CED) Program works to address the economic needs of low income people through the creation of employment and business opportunities. Funds can be used for business startup and expansion, and the purchase of equipment or property. CED projects can support agriculture initiatives by providing funding for physical food hubs, processing or cooperative facilities, job training and marketing.
- Delta Regional Authority (DRA)
The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) has helped to improve the quality of life and boost economic development opportunities. The main investment tool used by the Delta Regional Authority is the States’ Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP). The Delta Regional Authority’s SEDAP has been developed to enhance the economic development activities taking place in the Delta region. The DRA focuses on growing small business and promoting a healthy delta. Farm to School initiatives that increase jobs and have sustainable, regional approach may be eligible for DRA grant funds.
- Economic Development Agency (EDA)
The Economic Development Agency (EDA) is part of the Department of Commerce and offers several different investment assistance opportunities for a variety of programs. Available programs range from economic development to technical assistance to research and evaluation. Some of the programs allow funds to be used for facility construction and equipment purchases. Projects must be located in an economically distressed area.
- Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI)
The Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) represents the Federal government’s first coordinated program to eliminate “food deserts.” The HFFI supports projects that increase access to healthy, affordable food in communities that currently lack these options. Through a range of programs at the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, HFFI will expand the availability of nutritious food, including developing and equipping grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores, farmers markets, cooperatives and food hubs selling healthy food. Businesses, non-profit organizations, cooperatives and State Departments of Agriculture are eligible for funding. The Community Economic Development (CED) Program is a key part of the HFFI.