The state of Massachusetts has released a Request for Responses (RFR) for project proposals through a new Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program to ensure that individuals and families have access to fresh, local food.
Applications are being sought from among others farms, food producers, retailers, and other food system businesses that are facing disruptions or high demand due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and resulting food insecurity. Eligible projects will support immediate and future needs of the local food system including:
- information technology needs
- facility adaptation to new safety guidelines
- storage, processing, and delivery equipment to adapt to supply chain disruption and serve food insecure residents
- other strategies that connect local food production with food insecure communities and increase food equity for all
See pages 9-10 of the RFR for examples of eligible projects. This grant covers projects from under $10,000 to up to $500,000. The first round of awards were announced on July 22 for $3 million of the $56 million available. See funded projects here: www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-awards-3-million-in-food-security-grants.
Some possible projects include:
- Equipment to support season extension such as hoop houses, greenhouses, or cold storage
- Adaptation of facilities to meet new safety guidelines, such as new signage and handwashing stations for customers and worker protection
- Provisions and equipment for remote ordering and payment, and curbside pick-up or delivery
- Food storage, processing, and delivery equipment to adapt to supply chain disruptions, including for cold and ambient storage; storage containers and bins
- Purchase of food processing, washing and packing equipment, produce and fruit sorting equipment, cleaning and sanitation equipment
- Business planning and technical assistance for new crops and business models to secure the local food supply, and ensure its expansion to new markets.
- Adaptations to farm housing that will support social distancing and other safety protocols adopted in response to COVID-19
Applications are open now and will be accepted on a rolling basis until funding runs out or until September 15, 2020. Projects should be completed by June 30, 2021. Each applicant may submit up to three separate applications. See these FAQs for additional information.
Learn about opportunities for bridge loans to cover up front costs on this reimbursement grant here.