More Grant Info for Farmers from

November 17, 2011 at 10:33 am

The meeting is thriving with tons of information for farmers and local food advocates of any kind in Chicago land. The group is a meeting of meetings sponsored by the USDA and run by Alan Shannon of the USDA. It meets once a month downtown in the Loop and all information can be found on their website or contacting Alan Shannon whose email is on the website.

I was not able to attend the October meeting but Alan sends out an amazing summary email of what was discussed.

Some interesting tidbits from the meeting include:

1) The NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture) is now accepting applications for the Beginning Farmer and  Rancher Development program and applications are due by November 22, 2011.
2) The NIFA has released the 2012 Request for Application for Community Food Projects. The Competitive Grants Program applications are due November 17, 2011. More information on this can be found on the NIFA website.
3) USDA Rural Development Communities Facilities Program grants and loans to upgrade community child nutrition facilities and purchase equipment that could improve access to healthy, locally, or regionally grown products can be found here:
4) The FNS (Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA) is compiling a list of USDA grants issued to Midwest organizations in the past two years, it will be posted on the website.
5) Specialty crop grants
6) How to become a vendor of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program of the USDA Agricultural and Marketing Service (AMS). The AMS purchases $1.5bn in domestic food each year and this includes $406mm in fruits and vegetables.
7) Karen Lehman with Fresh Taste spoke at this meeting, on the Great Lakes Food Shed, David Tuckwiller gave a presentation on the Fruit Vegetable program.
8) The USDA has so many programs going on, Farm to School program, Chicago Food Desert Report and much more! I strongly suggest anyone with interest of any of these things attend the next meeting, check out the website and contact Alan Shannon of the USDA if you have any questions. I think the USDA is trying to bridge the public and private sector in sharing information all in the effort to promote a more sustainable food system.

As of this post, the November meeting was cancelled, the December meeting is scheduled for December 15th, check the website for more detail.