FNS Awards Grants to Support Emergency Food System and Agricultural Producers
Washington, D.C., Feb. 12, 2024 – As part of USDA’s ongoing efforts to support emergency feeding organizations and ensure families can keep healthy food on the table, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has awarded nearly $3.8 million in grants to 27 state agencies for Farm to Food Bank projects. Farm to Food Bank projects benefit both producers and emergency feeding organizations, such as food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries and more, by harvesting, processing, packaging or transporting foods donated by agricultural producers, processors, or distributors for use by emergency feeding organizations.
“No one wants to see wasted food when we know there are American families in need,” said FNS Administrator Cindy Long. “Farm to Food Bank projects help build relationships and strengthen local communities by repurposing privately donated food - that would otherwise be wasted - for distribution through our critical emergency feeding organizations.”
Highlights from state agencies receiving Farm to Food Bank grants for Fiscal Year 2024 include:
- Arizona: The Arizona Department of Economic Security will continue to use Farm to Food Bank Project funds to transport, sort, and pack donated produce for distribution in five counties in southern Arizona, in collaboration with Community Food Bank (CFB). Last year, this collaborative effort created a pipeline of fresh produce to food banks from over 280 local farmers and produce brokers. This year, CFB will continue to provide fresh produce directly to Arizona’s low-income households in their southern Arizona service area. Additional efforts will be made this year to improve equity of distribution and service across the entire service area, especially in rural areas.
- Hawaii: The Hawaii Office of Community Services will continue to work with The Hawaii Foodbank – Oahu (Honolulu County) and Kauai (Kauai County) Branches to distribute unharvested, unprocessed and unpackaged foods donated by local producers and farmers. Food donations are secured through gleaning projects, and additional funds are utilized to transport gleaned produce to food distribution locations. This project is a continuation of last year’s Farm to Food Bank project.
- Kentucky: The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s 2024 Farm to Food Bank Project will reduce food waste, increase access to nourishing food among those at risk of hunger, and strengthen relationships between producers and emergency feeding organizations. The project will connect producers with surplus produce to a Feeding Kentucky food bank that is able to distribute the foods to clients. Many of these foods would have otherwise been plowed under in the field because of a lack of market for them. This project is a continuation of last year’s Farm to Food Bank project.
- Missouri: The Missouri Department of Social Services will continue its partnership with Southeast Missouri Food Bank, Ozarks Food Harvest, and Second Harvest Community Food Bank for its 2024 Farm to Food Bank project. Funds will be used to support the harvesting, processing, packaging, and transportation of donated row crops, which will be distributed to Missourians in need through emergency feeding organizations. This project is a continuation of last year’s Farm to Food Bank project.
- New Hampshire (newly participating): The New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services will use Farm to Food Bank funds to connect local growers and producers to local emergency feeding organizations and to provide transportation of donated foods to these organizations. By working with producers to donate foods that may otherwise be at risk of going to waste, the project will increase sustainability of existing food systems and increase the quantity and quality of foods available to New Hampshire residents at emergency feeding organizations.
- Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Department of Health Services will carry out two projects with this year’s funding. The first, carried out in collaboration with the Hunger Task Force, will produce various dairy products such as cottage cheese, yogurt and cheese from donated milk that would have otherwise been wasted. The second project will be carried out in partnership with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, which will further partner with Blue Harbor Fish Company to secure donations of salmon that would have otherwise been wasted and to process the salmon into two-pound fillets. The fish will then be distributed to those in need by Solve Hunger Network and the NEW Hmong Professionals, with a specific focus on providing culturally relevant food products to Hmong communities throughout the Fox Valley.
This is the fifth year of funding for Farm to Food Bank projects; for a complete list of current and previous Farm to Food Bank awards and project descriptions, please visit the FNS website.
Farm to Food Bank projects are one of many ways that USDA continues to invest in the emergency food system. Investments focus on additional food purchases, improving infrastructure, supporting health and nutrition, bolstering local food systems, and promoting access and equity to continue to drive toward a stronger tomorrow.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of 16 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP. Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FNS’s report, “Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service,” highlights ways the agency will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy, released in conjunction with the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September 2022. To learn more about FNS, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.
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