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Community Food Project (CFP) Funds Available for Low-Income Communities

Community Food Projects (CFPs) are complex projects that increase the food security of communities with the greatest need, including low-income communities of color.  CFPs engage constituents in planning and implementation in order to advance the most equitable outcomes.

If you are new to the concept of Community Food Projects or would like more information on how to design and organize a successful project, spend the next year working on project plans BEFORE applying for CFP funding. CFSC is putting together a Project Planning Guide, which is designed to walk you through the process of designing a successful project. We will distribute information about this guide soon.

For more information about the Community Food Project program, go to:

How much funding is available?
If you have already planned out a Community Food Project (CFP) and are seeking funds to support these efforts, the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program offers up to $300,000 for well-designed projects of up to three years' duration. CFP funds requested must be matched dollar for dollar with non-federal resources. Projects should be planned to use a one-time infusion of federal funds to become self-sustaining. The CFP program is administered by the National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

How does an organization apply?
Only private, nonprofit entities meeting specific requirements as listed in the Request for Applications (RFA) are eligible. The Request for Application provides specific eligibility requirements and the information you need to apply for these funds.

Applications must be submitted by November 17, 2011

The application is very detailed and time-consuming so start the process as soon as possible.

Is there help available for writing a Community Food Project proposal?
For the past 12 years, CFSC has offered resources and free technical assistance (TA) to help grant applicants understand the USDA's Community Food Projects program and submit a strong proposal. Culturally appropriate resources and support are available to ensure equal access, especially for under-represented communities.

1) Resources:
2011 Guidance for Preparing Community Food Projects Proposals (15 pages, PDF format, updated September 2010)
This guide is designed as a companion document to the Request for Applications (RFA), to help potential applicants: Determine eligibility to apply for CFP funds; Understand and incorporate program concepts and terminology; Plan projects that promote food security in and help meet the food needs of low-income communities; and Develop a competitive application for CFP funds

2009 Guidance for Preparing Community Food Projects Proposals (41 pages, PDF format, updated April 2009)
If you find that after reviewing the 2011 Guidance for Preparing Community Food Projects Proposals, you still have questions, this guide is longer and contains more details on certain topics (especially project rating criteria and writing outcome-focused proposals). Although it was compiled in 2009, the program has changed very little. This guide was also designed as a companion document to the RFA.

If you are not able to access these guides, contact Aleta Dunne to request a hard-copy version.

2) One-on-One Assistance:
CFSC now partners with Growing Power and WHY Hunger to offer CFP grant applicants one-on-one assistance with technical assistance (TA) providers. If you still have questions after reviewing the 2011 and 2009 guides, this service can help you address questions specific to your project.

This assistance may include:

  • Deciding whether or not to apply for a grant
  • Clarifying CFP program guidelines
  • Addressing technical questions
  • Providing feedback on program plans
  • Reviewing draft proposals
  • Referring you to others with expertise in specific areas

It is very important to seek this assistance early in the process of writing your proposal in order to ensure that the TA providers will have adequate time to assist you. For more information, call 1-877-988-1010 or email t&

Thanks to USDA for supporting these services!