Building on investments to address food insecurity among Massachusetts residents, the Baker-Polito Administration last week announced it has made available $15 million in funding through a second round of its Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program. The funding will enable the Administration to continue to implement the recommendations of the Food Security Task Force, which was convened last year by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center in response to increased demands for food assistance.
“Addressing food security issues remains a high priority of our Administration to help ensure all residents have fresh, healthy produce readily available to them,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By working with dedicated partners, we will continue to strengthen the food distribution supply chain and address more needs throughout the Commonwealth.”
“This round of grants from the Food Security Grant program will further expand on our efforts to provide greater access to locally harvested and produced food products,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “With higher numbers of people experiencing food insecurity, we continue to take significant strides in ensuring fresh, locally sourced food remains widely available to the residents of Massachusetts.”
The Administration opened the funding opportunity on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 and is currently accepting applications for funding. In this round, the program is focused on addressing access to fresh food by improving and strengthening the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s food system and expanding the distribution of locally grown and sourced products to vulnerable communities. The Request for Responses for project proposals is available here, and is open until October 31, 2021.
The Administration launched the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program last yearas part of a $56 million investment to combat food insecurity for Massachusetts families and individuals. In addition to expanding access to healthy local food, the program seeks to ensure farmers, fishermen and other local food producers are better connected to a strong, resilient food system to help mitigate future food supply disruption. Last year’s program dedicated over $35.5 million to hundreds of projects to address food insecurity across the Commonwealth.
“The Baker-Polito Administration continues to dedicate critical resources to address food insecurity and ensure that residents across the Commonwealth are able to access fresh, local food,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides. “Building on recent investments with this additional funding will further strengthen the Commonwealth’s food distribution network, invest in local farms and fishermen and women to areas of food insecurity and build a more resilient food system.”
“The Baker-Polito Administration has been addressing increased food insecurity for families as a result of the public health emergency, building on and strengthening the infrastructure in place, and leveraging existing nutrition resources like SNAP and WIC,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “The $15 million in additional funds will further strengthen the food system in Massachusetts, increasing access to local, healthy food, particularly among communities hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Eligible grantees include entities that are part of the Massachusetts local food system, including production, processing and distribution, the emergency food distribution network, community and food organizations, school meal programming, urban farms and community gardens, non-profits, and other organizations involved in ensuring that everyone in the Commonwealth has access to fresh, healthy foods. Applications for the second round of the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program are due Sunday, October 31, 2021.
Eligible proposals include, but are not limited to, projects seeking to:
• Increase the resiliency of the overall food system in the Commonwealth;
• Increase capacity for food storage;
• Increase capacity of local food distribution partners;
• Increase capacity of the emergency food network;
• Increase capacity of food production by purchasing food processing equipment;and,
• Offer innovative solutions for urban farming.
Eligible grantees include entities that are part of the Massachusetts local food system including production, processing and distribution, the emergency food distribution network, Buy Local, community and food organizations, school meal programming, urban farms and community gardens, non-profits, and organizations that provide business planning, technical assistance and information technology services.
The first round of the Food Insecurity Infrastructure Grant Program was announced in May 2020 as part of a $56 million investment by the Baker-Polito Administration to combat urgent food insecurity for some Massachusetts families and individuals as a result of COVID-19. The Administration also announced a $5 million increase for the Healthy Incentives Program to meet increased demand for local produce and to increase access points that process SNAP and HIP benefits, $12 million for the provision of 25,000 family food boxes per week through a regional food supply system, and $3 million in funding as an immediate relief valve to food banks.