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Grants to Virginia Nonprofits, For-Profits, Individuals, and Farms
to Address Food Insecurity In Disadvantaged Communities

Virginia Food Access Investment Fund (VFAIF) Grants

Agency Type:

State

Funding Source:

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Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Conf. Date:

01/18/22

LOI Date:

01/21/22

Deadline Date:

02/22/22 10:00 PM

Description:

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Grants of up to $50,000 to Virginia nonprofits, for-profits, individuals, farms, and organizations to eliminate food-related disparities and address food insecurity. Applicants must attend a webinar, submit a pre-proposal, and contact program staff prior to applying. Funding is intended to assist new or established food retailers that are responding to food access concerns and challenges in historically marginalized communities. Grants may be used for seed money or funds for implementation, such as site development or the purchase of equipment.

The VFAIF program has been developed using the Equitable Food-Oriented Development model, a development strategy that uses food and agriculture to create economic opportunities and healthy neighborhoods and that explicitly seeks to build community assets, pride, and power by and with historically marginalized communities.

For the purposes of this program, historically marginalized communities are defined as minority or underserved, as well as those experiencing low food access. In these communities, the objectives of this program are to:

  • Improve access to fresh foods and reduce food deserts across the Commonwealth;
  • Create wealth, support leadership, and improve access to capital in historically marginalized communities;
  • Assess, support, and transform existing or potential businesses into sustainable community-owned businesses;
  • Foster innovative solutions that uplift and share successful food business models; and
  • Reduce food insecurity, strengthen food systems and improve health outcomes for historically marginalized communities.

Eligible projects include the business development, construction, rehabilitation, equipment upgrades, or expansion of:

  • Grocery stores that primarily sell meat, seafood, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, dry groceries, household products, sundries, and healthy food options
  • Innovative food retail projects such as mobile markets or delivery models, including food trucks
  • Small food retailers, such as small-scale stores, neighborhood stores, small groceries, farmers’ markets, or corner stores
  • Small, limited resource or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers; small, limited resource or socially disadvantaged farm co-ops, community gardens, restaurants or cafes with a direct food retail component or in partnership with a qualified food retailer, food hub, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and/or farm stand.

For information about project prioritization, see page 2 of the Grant Guidelines in Supporting Documents below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 195124

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant award amounts will range from $5,000 to $50,000 per project, per year.

Successful projects may apply for additional funding in subsequent years upon completion of the previous project (for instance, an applicant could receive $10,000 to purchase refrigeration in year one and then apply for $50,000 to expand processing capability in year two).

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants may be individuals, farms, nonprofits, organizations (faith-based or others), or for-profit businesses.

Projects must meet the following requirements to be considered for funding:
- Be located in the Commonwealth of Virginia
- Have a retail component where consumers can purchase fresh meats, seafood, dairy, produce, and/or healthy food options
- Directly serve residents within low-income, low-access communities
- Demonstrate a history of community engagement, work in the community, and community support for the project
- Accept SNAP benefits and offer Virginia Fresh Match incentives
- Purchase a minimum of 25% of fresh products from Virginia’s small, beginning, limited resource, Veteran, and/or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers (as designated by USDA/ERS ers.usda.gov).

VFAIF will not fund stand-alone business entities without a food retail component or food retail partner, traditional food banks/food pantries, or the purchase of land.

Pre-proposal Conference:

All VFAIF grant applicants are required to attend a “How to Apply for VFAIF Grants” informational webinar hosted by VDACS. Choose a date and time that is convenient for you from this list of webinar options:

- Tuesday, 12/7 at 10 am
- Tuesday, 12/14 at 6 pm
- Monday, 12/20 at 10 am
- Tuesday, 1/4 at 6 pm
- Thursday, 1/13 at 10 am
- Tuesday, 1/18 at 6 pm

For links and more ways to join the webinars, see the Webinars and Presentations section on the URL for Full Text link below.

Pre-Application Information:

Timeline:
- Pre-proposals will be accepted from December 1st, 2021 - January 21st, 2022.
- Once a pre-proposal has been submitted, please use the Calendly link below to schedule a meeting with program staff.
- Once the pre-proposal has been discussed with program staff, technical assistance can be requested until February 14th, 2022.
- Final apps are due by 10 pm on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022.
- Funding will be announced in April.

Note: This is a reimbursable grant, meaning awardees must cover expenses initially and submit necessary reimbursement documentation.

Before completing the pre-proposal please read the Equitable Food-Oriented Development (EFOD) brown paper: https://www.efod.org/efod-brown-paper-2019.html

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Contact:
Sara Santa Cruz, Coordinator
Virginia Food Access Investment Fund
804.398.0382
sara.santacruz@vdacs.virginia.gov

Please schedule pre-proposal meetings and technical assistance via Calendly: http://calendly.com/sara-santacruz-1

VDACS
102 Governor St.
Richmond, VA 23219

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Virginia

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