Monthly Archives: February 2014

Community Food Case Study in Kentucky

How it Started

Official introduction occurred in May 2000 through cooperative efforts of the USDA, the Kentucky Department of Ag., University of Kentucky Extension and the Kentucky Department of Education. Some school districts in Kentucky had noted the North Carolina model and had been purchasing produce through the DOD fresh program and from local cooperatives. In the first year the program was piloted in regions 4 and 8. Schools were encouraged to request product grown in Kentucky, if prices were comparable. The program went statewide this year. Farm-to-School in Kentucky now has a full time coordinator who handles communications with farmers and schools funded by the State Department of Agriculture.

Farm to School Project and Components Clark County is Kentucky’s model program for integrating Farm to School with nutrition and health education. There they are developing and piloting the Clover CAT (Cooking, Activity, and Time to be well) curriculum. This curriculum includes nutrition, time management, exercise and self-esteem.

The curriculum is being piloted in the 5th, 7th, and 9th grades with introductory, intermediate and advanced levels. In some areas the YMCA offers a three-month scholarship to obese children who attend these classes. If the children work out at the YMCA 30 times in three months they are offered another three- month free membership. Intergenerational gardens are being piloted but not always in conjunction with the farm to school program.

Farm-to-school coordinator plans to develop additional components (ag education, nutrition education) in the future.

Funding The farm to school program is incorporated into the jobs of nearly all those involved. The program is broadly supported by the State of Kentucky. No additional funding has been required.

Farmers/Crops The Kentucky Department of Agriculture facilitates communication between farmers and schools. They promote products grown in Kentucky such as seedless watermelons, sweet potatoes, broccoli and seasonal decorative products. Local and Kentucky grown cannot always provide quantities needed by school districts. In these cases commodities and out-of-state foods are used. Farm cooperatives comprise the majority of farms involved in the program. Few independent farms participate. There is some question as to how beneficial this program is to new, small-scale, or non-traditional farms.

School food service commented that farmers have not approached schools independently. If they did, they might be well received. Additional product is needed for summer feeding program and school food service might be willing to purchase direct if farmers made the effort.

DOD provides purchasing expertise some contact with growers. DOD helps set prices, work with growers and seek out small-scale growers Delivery School Districts place their orders in May each year. Contracted produce distributors ship their produce to larger distribution sites 5 located in Kentucky, one in Ohio and one in Tennessee. Product is shipped from these sites to schools. Department of Ag. inspects and approves distributors prior to their involvement with farm-to-school In districts served by a central kitchen food service directors at individual schools can order from their local distributor to supplement what is provided by the central kitchen. The central kitchen places a request once a month for bid. Bids are published and individual schools may order from that list. Schools are encouraged to choose lowest bid first, Kentucky grown second. Produce is delivered once a week.

Price Farm-gate price is negotiated by Kentucky Dept. of Ag and DOD. A 5.6% surcharge is added to farm gate price and this price is offered to schools. Price for Kentucky grown has not been an issue with product purchased through State farm-to-school program but price for locally grown can be an issue when purchasing from local distributors. Commodities and low prices take precedence over locally grown.

School Food Service Support School food service was supportive from the beginning. At the May 2000 conference they shared the barriers they had confronted and overcome as well as barriers that persist. For the last year and a half Jefferson County has prepared food in the central kitchen and delivered to schools in refrigerated trucks owned and operated by Food Service. Menus are developed for periods of 6-months. Seasonality impacts price but is not necessarily a consideration in menu development.
USDA rep provides regular training to food service in handling fresh product and some nutrition education.

Kitchen Facilities Jefferson County has a model central kitchen which can process huge quantities of food with little additional staffing. Food for school lunches is prepared at this site and shipped to individual schools. Other schools have some processing capability but prefer pre-cut, prepackaged product. No additional labor has been necessary.
Sustainability This project has a great deal of State support. Nearly all aspects of the program are incorporated into the jobs of those involved. Elementary and middle schools do not allow students to leave campus during school hours. Ala carte items, which are part of school menu, are sold during lunch but no competitive foods are sold on campus. Although high schools have soft drink contracts, the machines cannot be turned on until ½ hour after last lunch period. Under these conditions the program is sustainable.

Contact Person: James Mansfield Kentucky Department of Agriculture 100 Fair Oaks Lane 5th Floor Frankfort, KY 40601 502-564-7274 [email protected]

Elements of Competitive CFSC Application – Part 2

Once outcome statements, such as performance targets and milestones, have been established, it is much easier to set up a Logic Model or similar evaluation. To proceed, consider how the project will verify that proposed changes have taken place by measuring comparative data from the start of the project and as the project comes to an end. Establish benchmarks that represent indicators of progress. Verifying these changes may mean conducting follow-up with beneficiaries by conducting surveys, phone interviews, or by using some other mechanism to assure that the planned benefit has been achieved.

dvance planning of a project’s evaluation component can help determine the design, cost, and resources needed to implement the evaluation. The application should describe, at least in general terms, what will be evaluated and how it will be done, who will oversee and coordinate evaluation activities, how low-income participants and other community members will be involved in the evaluation, and what baseline data will be used for comparative purposes.

In developing an evaluation plan, applicants should:

• decide at least in general terms what to evaluate and what process to use; • determine who will oversee or coordinate evaluation activities; • identify participants – who the evaluation will focus on and who will participate in its design and implementation; • identify baseline data that is available; and • estimate costs and the need for outside expertise at the onset of the project.

Consider also:

  • how to involve stakeholders to provide insights and identify priorities for evaluation
  • how to select practical indicators and associated measurement tools such as surveys to gather information and track developments
  • how to interpret the information you derive
  • what steps are needed to refine evaluation procedures on an ongoing basis
  • and what steps will ensure ongoing record-keeping, data collection, and monitoring.

The CFSC provides evaluation training workshops, handbooks, and specific evaluation tools to help CFP grantees conduct effective evaluations. (See Evaluation Program webpage for more information: The RFA encourages applicants to seek expert assistance with evaluation design and implementation, as appropriate and available. Academic institutions may collaborate for free or at a fairly low cost, out of interest in the project. Otherwise, independent consultants can also provide such assistance, though probably at a much higher cost. (Note: See the CFP RFA and CFSC’s Evaluation Handbook and Toolkit for additional guidance on evaluation and logic models:

g. Self-Sustainability Because Community Food Projects awards are intended as one-time funding, USDA is interested in how the project will continue or be sustained after the CFP grant ends. Sustainability should make sense in terms of project priorities and strategies. Unless there is a strong entrepreneurial component, project activities are not expected to generate an on-going revenue stream.

Viable sustainability strategies may include: continued support provided by the grantee, in-kind and institutionalized support from a project partner who takes an activity under its wing, continued grants or other fund-raising, and project revenues and income generated by project entrepreneurship. 3. Budget Narrative and Justification The application requires a budget narrative to explain how CFP funds will be used. Reviewers judge an application mainly by what it proposes to achieve and how it will accomplish its objectives. But the budget needs to be appropriate for the project and make sense. Because the USDA budget forms combine many line item categories, explaining the details can make the difference as to whether or not a proposal gets funded.

The budget justification should explain every budget line item, and break down large categories into specific expenditures. This is the place to explain any unusual expenditures – particularly if they are relatively large and not clearly detailed in the narrative section. Reviewers and USDA will look at these details to make sure they are consistent with the proposed activities, and also will consider whether there is sufficient funding to accomplish the activities being proposed. Give particular attention to the budget justification section; it should be neat and avoid redundancy. Splitting out costs for each year of the project is helpful, but it is not necessary to repeat lengthy information for every year; just break out the items that change, such as new supplies and equipment, salary increases, and the like.

The sources and amounts of all matching support should be summarized on a separate page and added as an attachment as part of the Budget Justification, with letters of commitment and other documentation of match details also included as attachments. 4. Letters of Matching Commitment As noted earlier, federal CFP funds requested must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Matching resources may be either cash and/or in-kind, but must be non-federal in origin. They can come from a state or local government agency, or private sources such as businesses, foundations or charities, or from other non-profit entities. In-kind resources may include the value of office space used exclusively for the funded project, or the value, fairly assessed, of transportation, photocopying, postage or other costs covered by the applicant organization or by a project partner.

Matching resources must be detailed, explained, and firmly committed in a letter from project partners to the applicant or in a letter to USDA from the applicant. USDA requires that all matching resources for the life of the project be identified and committed “up front” before the project is initiated. Reviewers read these and other collaborator letters carefully to assess the degree of commitment and involvement of each organization. Form letters or letters that simply state the project is important and that the organization will endorse it signal to reviewers that the group has not been very involved in the planning of the project.

On the other hand, a unique, individualized letter that details the specific role of the organization, its past contributions, and its proposed activities in the planning and implementation of the project will be much more compelling. If a project is a true collaboration, this will show in the level of enthusiasm, substantive information, and consistency provided in these letters. Letters of commitment should document contributions of cash or in-kind support. Similarly, if a collaborator or consultant will be paid for work on the project, the nature of the work, hourly rate, and number of hours need to be documented in their letter.

The legislation does not require that an applicant contribute matching resources beyond the one-to-one requirement. However, evidence of additional funding can increase the project’s self-reliance and make it more self-sustaining. On the other hand, if the project has such extensive funding that CFP support will not represent a major or critical component, the application may not fit the intent of this program to “support the development of Community Food Projects with a one-time infusion of federal dollars to make such projects self-sustaining.” CFP is not looking to be a small part of a big, long-term program; the program wants to play a significant role in funding specific initiatives that might otherwise not take place. For example, CFP funds would not be appropriate to support or expand the regular activities of a food bank.

But they could assist the food bank in setting up a culinary skills training program, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm or distribution initiative, or other such activities. a. Verification of matching resources Collaborators will need guidance on what to include in their letters of commitment regarding documentation of matching funds or in-kind. Partners should share the specific guidance for match contained in the RFA. Some types of match may be considered ineligible, because they are an intended outcome or integral part of a project. Examples include: food donations (e.g., the value of foods gleaned and donated to a food bank); food production (e.g., the value of food grown and marketed as part of the project); project income (e.g. from potential farmers’ market sales); and volunteer time that is already integral to a project (e.g., as a requirement for participation in a food coop).

Applications should include written commitments for both cash and in-kind contributions to verify matching support. Separate letters may be needed for each resource contributed to the project. Pages 18 and 19 of the RFA are very specific as to what should be included in letters from the applicant and its partners verifying the matching commitment. Written verification also means sufficient documentation to allow USDA to assess the value of the contribution, and providing evidence that a person with the appropriate level of authority has made this commitment; i.e., the commitment letter should be on letterhead and signed by the authorized organizational representative. The RFA states directly and unequivocally on page 18 that “Awards will not be issued until all matching has been verified.”

For matching funds (cash), verification of the source of the funds must be provided. But, if applicants already have funds on hand, potential complications in the grants management process may be avoided by simply stating the amount of cash available, rather than linking it to a specific grant commitment. If documentation of another grant received by the applicant is provided, it should include a copy of the award letter stating the purpose(s) for which the funding was provided and a statement as to when the funds are available.

The RFA on pages 18-19 states that for any third party cash contributions (i.e., by a partner in the project), a separate pledge agreement is required for each donation, signed by the authorized organizational representatives of the donor organization and the applicant organization. Such contributions must include a good faith estimate of the current fair market value of the contribution and other details specified in the RFA. The RFA (page 19) states that the value of applicant contributions to the project shall be established in accordance with applicable cost principles.

Again, clear details are needed for each item or type of in-kind provided. In addition, the applicant organization should demonstrate that it is willing and able to receive the items contributed and apply them toward the project. 5. Letters of Support In addition to letters of matching commitment, applications may include general support letters from project collaborators. A limited number of such support letters – such as those from farmers or schools, where appropriate – are encouraged to provide evidence of broad community involvement in both past planning, project operations, and future decision-making. Avoid using form letters for this purpose; an individualized letter that speaks to the role of the organization in the project, and importance of the project and its planned outcomes, is much more persuasive and helpful.

Elements of Competitive CFSC Application – Part 1

CFP proposals are not easy to prepare. Applicants should allow sufficient time to plan the project, coordinate with partners and clarify their roles, write a good narrative, get all necessary letters of commitment, and complete all other requirements. Waiting until a week or two before the application deadline likely will result in weak or incomplete proposals. Moreover, the electronic submission process requires additional steps that make it even more important to start early. See CFSC’s updated Electronic Submissions Advisory at for more information.

Successful CFP applications have some, if not all, of the following elements:

• The project is exciting and innovative for the community, offering a creative strategy to address local food system issues that affect low-income residents.
• The initiative incorporates CFP objectives in a well-organized manner and both the project and the application clearly address program priorities.
• The project shows substantial planning and understanding of the food needs in the communities it will serve.
• The effort exhibits strong partnerships and collaborations with other entities in the community.
• Activities are reflective of and responsive to the needs of the community, with local citizens involved in developing and implementing them.

The CFP application should be an original document. The RFA requests specific information based on expressly stated legislative objectives – collaboration, community linkages, entrepreneurship, etc. Many of these topics are not typically emphasized in other program grant application requirements. It is usually obvious to reviewers when CFP applications are cut and pasted from other proposals.

Competitive applications are well written and well organized. The limited page length for the CFP narrative demands that an applicant be concise and to the point. Applications do not need to be expertly crafted by professional consultants, but need to be understandable and cogent while reflecting local enthusiasm for the project. The expert reviewers are sensitive to the limited resources and experience many non-profit groups have when it comes to fundraising. Strong applications may come from programs in which the English literacy skills of those involved is limited. Reviewers will make allowances for this, though written applications should have correct spelling and punctuation and a reasonable sentence structure, so reviewers can follow the flow of the project.

Applicants must insure that their proposal is complete in order to compete for funding. Incomplete applications may be disqualified and not reviewed. Specific instruction is included in this guide for the project narrative, budget narrative, letters of commitment and support, and addressing the application evaluation criteria. But applicants should also consult and use the Application Submission Checklist found on pages 35 and 36 of the RFA to insure they have met all CFP requirements.

Although ultimately, funding decisions are made by USDA, the Department relies heavily on the opinion of “expert reviewers,” peers from the community food security movement who read and evaluate the applications and make funding recommendations. The importance of these expert reviewers in the CFP funding process cannot be overstated.
Reviewers are involved in and knowledgeable about community food work and seek to fund the best projects rather than the best-written proposals.

Reviewers first rate every application on its merits, without any consideration of the amount requested or detailed budgets. Only after the proposals are ranked are budget details a factor. Budgets should be appropriate and activities commensurate with the funds requested. 1. Project Summary The 250-word project summary is one of the last documents an applicant should prepare, but it is the first page read by the reviewers. It sets the tone for the entire proposal. Therefore, it is very important to craft a well-written, comprehensive, and compelling summary statement that intrigues reviewers and “sells” the proposed project.

The Project Summary should be self-contained, assuming that the reader gets no additional information and that this short description stands alone. 2. Project Narrative The project narrative is the heart of the application, laying the groundwork for project need, detailing actions that will be taken by the community and collaborators to address those needs, and describing outcomes that will change the community in self-sustaining ways. But with only 10 pages allowed to answer many complex questions in the narrative, it must be carefully constructed. (Applicants should keep in mind that up to five additional pages of precious narrative space may be gained by adding information – food insecurity and/or census demographics, detailed project activities or timelines – in charts and tables.) Applicants should be succinct, yet complete, avoid redundant information, and provide an overall description that makes sense to outsiders who may know little about the local area, the organizations involved in the project, and the background leading up to it.

The following portion of the guide discusses key points to address under each component of the required narrative. a. The Community to Be Served and the Needs to Be Addressed This section should outline why the applicant and its partners selected the activities proposed in the application, the main targets or beneficiaries of the project, and the community needs and opportunities being addressed. The needs addressed should directly relate to project goals and objectives described. This section offers an opportunity to frame the overall project and to tell the story of why the project should be funded.

Information provided should touch on community conditions (including socio-economic conditions, food insecurity, and/or environmental and food system problems), the context and history for the project, and the beneficiaries targeted. Extensive general community and resident information is not necessary; instead emphasize those conditions being addressed by the proposed project that make the effort compelling. The CFP is intended to primarily serve low-income constituents and communities. Evidence of this is important, but may be provided in summary form.

USDA expects CFP projects to be community-based. This suggests “of the community” or “by the community” rather than “for the community” or “to the community.” Reviewers are looking for more of a bottom-up versus a top-down planning and implementation approach, in which priorities are driven by residents or stakeholders rather than just by the applicant organization and its partners. This is the place to describe how collaborative efforts – meetings, interviews, community-based needs assessments, and/or other input strategies – were used in planning the initiative. b. The Organizations Involved in the Project In this section, applicants should list all key participating organizations and give a short description of their roles in the project. Reviewers will be assessing the overall relationship – past and current – between the partners, and the degree to which each will be involved in the initiative. Although participation by several organizations is expected, it is not the number that counts as much as the role(s) each will play. If a collaboration (e.g., a network, alliance, coalition, or council) is formed to sponsor and/or manage the project, then describe this entity, its role, and the participants involved.

Applicants need to show that partners are qualified and appropriate and possess the appropriate experience, resources, and relationship to make the project successful. To save space, avoid lengthy descriptions here; less than a page or so total should be enough to provide the summary information for this point. A helpful strategy is to rely on letters of commitment from each organization or key player to provide specific details about their roles. Letters from the key organizations involved in the project, acknowledging their support and providing specific information about their contribution to the project, must be provided in an appendix to the application. Similarly, a letter of commitment from the applicant itself is a means to provide information about the organization and any key personnel to be involved with the project. (see section G.4. on commitment letters below). c. Project Goals and Intended Outcomes List the goals and intended outcomes of the project. Outcomes should describe specific changes or results that will occur as a consequence of the project and that will constitute “success” for the initiative. These may include benefits resulting from program activities such as changes in participants’ skills, behaviors, or quality of life, and positive changes in conditions in the community served or reductions in negative conditions. “Outcomes should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely; describe what will be accomplished, and who and how many people, e.g., residents, participants, will benefit” (page 14 of the RFA). (For guidance on writing outcome-focused proposals, see pages 37-41 in the spring 2009 version of this guide on the CFSC website: )

Goals and objectives are often written in very general terms. Goals reflect the overall vision or long- term impacts that are hoped for and sometimes specify the overall results desired. Objectives describe more specific steps to get to the goals. Goals and objectives can convey similar information as outcomes. However, outcomes are constructed in more succinct, specific, and quantifiable language that is meant to carefully define the results of the initiative. Outcomes measure changes that occur as a result of the project. d. Activities to Achieve the Goals USDA looks for specific details about how the project objectives or milestones will be implemented. Do not assume that reviewers understand the steps that will be taken to achieve each component. An appropriate level of detail helps clarify that the applicant and its partners have thought out what it will take to accomplish their proposed objectives or milestones.

Applicants should provide a general description of the implementation for each objective or milestone, summarizing and emphasizing critical elements for success, along with characteristics that make it clear why they are important. Then, outline specific steps that will be taken for each objective, including numbers of expected participants in each activity and a timeline for completion of each step. (Again, this may be included as a separate chart or table to save space in the narrative.) e. Relationship to Program Objectives The CFP program has multiple objectives, as listed on page 6 of the RFA. How the project will meet some of these objectives should be clearly described. Emphasize how project outcomes relate to the CFP priorities. This explanation does not need to be exclusively about changes in respect to individuals, but can also address broader changes to the community, the environment, the food system, or to related policies that will influence or benefit the targeted constituencies. A concise, flowing explanation of why this is a good project from a CFP perspective is more valuable than providing lots of technical explanations. f. Evaluation CFP proposals should contain a strong evaluation component. Innovative evaluation strategies are especially encouraged. Evaluations should focus on “logic models” and the measurement of success in meeting the legislative goals and objectives of the CFP. The CFP encourages both process evaluations (developing and monitoring indicators of progress towards the objectives) and outcome evaluations (to determine whether the objectives were met).

Funding and Matching Funds for Community Food Projects


1. Size of grant requests
About $5 million is available for all projects funded this year and the RFA states that approximately five percent ($250,000) may be awarded for Planning Projects. The maximum allowable grant for a regular CFP is $300,000 over the lifetime of the project and $125,000 in any single year. The maximum grant for Planning Projects is $25,000 over the lifetime of the project.

2. Matching funds requirements
Community Food Projects legislation requires that the federal funds awarded be matched dollar-for- dollar by non-federal resources. Specifically, this can be achieved through “cash and/or in-kind contributions, including third-party in-kind contributions, fairly evaluated” (pages 18-19 of the RFA). Third party in-kind contributions means non-cash contributions of property or services including real property, equipment, or supplies, provided by non-Federal third parties and directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the project. More information on meeting and documenting matching funds may be found in section G.4. below.


The Community Food Projects (CFP) grant process is very competitive. In recent years, about one in six applications submitted has been funded. So applicants, whether considering a community food assessment to identify needs, bolstering an existing project to have greater impact, or proposing a new and untested project, must have all resources lined up and be sure their project reflects CFP guidelines.

Prospective applicants must review the RFA and decide if their proposed project is appropriate. But even if the project appears to fit many of the guidelines, applicants must assess whether their organization and collaborators are ready to apply this round. They should consider whether they have a solid project plan and strong partnerships, strong community support and involvement, the required match, and the ability to develop a complex proposal before the deadline. If not, applicants may want to consider implementing additional planning, organizing, or assessment work and applying the following year. Another option is to submit a Planning Project grant, especially if the project is still in the relatively early stages of planning and development. (See separate guide to developing Planning Project grants, available on the CFSC website at:

The application instructions allow applicants to indicate whether a proposal is a “New Application” or a “Resubmission.” In practical terms, the difference is negligible as reviewers approach both types of applications in the same way. Resubmitted applications give the applicant an opportunity to respond to reviewer comments from the previous year and show where improvements have been made to address reviewer concerns.

The program does not perceive resubmission as a negative; indeed, many grantees apply several times before finding a winning approach that earns CFP funding. Further guidance may be found in summaries of successful applications and past grants available on the USDA website at: and in the Food Security Learning Center database of CFP projects at:

The summaries provided give an overall sense of the types of activities that get funded as well as the amounts awarded. Further examples of highly rated CFP proposals and case studies of CFP-funded projects are available on the CFSC website at:

Changes & Eligibility for Community Food Applications


The CFP Request for Applications (RFA) for 2011 is very similar to that for 2010. There are three key changes. First, the agency within USDA that administers the CFP has been re-named. The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) is now the National Institute on Food and Agriculture (NIFA). References have been changed throughout the RFA to reflect this new name.

Second, the emphasis on the participation of low-income residents in both regular CFP projects and Planning Projects has been reinforced in the Program Area Descriptions on pages 7-9. Not only should low-income people be “actively engaged in the planning, direction, implementation, and evaluation of the proposed” project, but the application should demonstrate that project staff “dedicate their work to helping build capacity among low-income beneficiaries.”

Finally, program reporting requirements are also being revised. It is noted on page 28 of the RFA that, “NIFA is incrementally transitioning from its existing reporting system, Current Research Information System (CRIS), to a new reporting system, REEport, during FYs 2010 and 2011.” Initial reporting for grants awarded in fiscal year 2011 will be submitted through CRIS, though annual and final reports will be done under REEport.


1. Who is eligible to apply for Community Food Projects grants? Eligible applicants are private non-profit entities with experience in community food work, job training,
business development, or similar activities. Examples include anti-hunger organizations, farm groups, community development corporations, neighborhood alliances, and others. Eligibility information may be found in the RFA on page 11.

An applicant need not have federal tax-exempt status under Section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code, but should be able to demonstrate the necessary organizational capacity and administrative experience detailed in the RFA. An applicant organization serving as a conduit for a collaborative group should not only document fiscal competency and experience in managing such a project, but also describe its direct role in and contributions to the project activities.

Academic institutions and institutions of higher education, if they are non-profit or have a non-profit arm, are also eligible to apply, but will need to be rooted in the local community to submit a competitive application for the CFP. The CFP program particularly focuses on the development of applications from community-based organizations, though educational institutions and other eligible entities are strongly encouraged to collaborate in the planning and implementation of Community Food Projects.

Historically, over the life of the CFP, grants have been made to a diverse range of community-based organizations, including food banks, local food system projects, Community Development Corporations (CDCs), faith groups, anti-poverty programs, educational organizations, youth projects, farmers’ markets, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) sponsors, among others. Projects vary greatly and integrate a number of different components, but tend to emphasize local food production, value- added processing, food service entrepreneurship and skills training, marketing, and/or food and nutrition education. 2. Partners and subcontracts The CFP emphasizes partnership and collaboration, and applicants may subcontract with one or more partners to carry out part of the work; this may in fact strengthen the proposal. Although only the applicant must meet the eligibility requirements, other entities may be involved in a proposed project, and applicants are encouraged to work closely with other community organizations and neighborhood groups to plan and implement CFP projects.

Potential partners and collaborators may be found throughout all sectors of the food system, including public entities, such as schools, hospitals, and parks departments, for profit operations like restaurants and grocery stores, and other non-profits working on relevant issues. The only program limitation in this area is that no more than one-third of the CFP budget may be sub-awarded to for-profit organizations.

Community Food Service Application Overview


This guide was prepared by the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) to assist prospective applicants for the fiscal year 2011 Community Food Projects (CFP) funding cycle. The announcement for these funds is titled Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program: Fiscal Year 2011 Request for Applications (RFA). It is available at:

This guide is designed as a companion document to the 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
  • Develop a competitive application for CFP funds

This document is based on an earlier edition written by Hugh Joseph, but has been reorganized and greatly condensed. It still contains all the essential points, and the guidance has changed very little. However, it contains significantly less detail on some topics (especially application evaluation criteria and writing outcome-focused proposals). So, CFSC is keeping the spring 2009 version of this guide posted for those who may want this additional information:

CFSC has also developed two brief guidance documents covering the electronic submissions process and Planning Projects. These guides are posted separately on the CFSC website at: .


Applicants must carefully review the RFA themselves for guidance in preparing an application. This guide is not a substitute for the RFA nor does it discuss all the requirements of the RFA. The authors of this guide are familiar with the CFP, have reviewed the 2011 RFA, and have done their best to assure the accuracy of the information provided, but neither they nor the CFSC are responsible for errors or
omissions in the enclosed guidance. Applicants should always rely on the RFA for final language regarding the preparation of proposals. Finally, the recommendations in this guide do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Department’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).


The Community Food Projects program supports projects that will meet the food needs of low-income individuals, increase the self-reliance of communities to meet their own food needs, promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues, and address specific state, local, and neighborhood food needs. Projects are geared toward increasing a low-income community’s capacity to produce, process, and/or market food for its residents.

Improved access to high quality foods may be accomplished in many ways, such as by promoting food assistance programs or by starting a farmers’ market. But these activities alone will not substantially help targeted participants become more self-reliant or food secure over the long term. Most winning proposals are multi-faceted and incorporate education, training, and/or entrepreneurial activities to enhance basic programs and provide opportunities for participants that increase skills, incomes, and/or

Bills in Support of Farm to School Programs

Farm to School Action Alert!

Bills in Support of Farm to School Programs All of the following bills support Farm to School Programs by providing tools to connect school food service providers with producers in their areas to source local food efficiently and cost effectively. More specifically the following bills all:

  • Create a national USDA competitive matching grant program, renewable for up to two years, to support planning, implementation, training, and technical assistance grants for communities to implement Farm to School Programs.
  • Consider regional and urban-rural balance in project selection, and prioritize applications that serve institutions with a high proportion of children eligible for free and reduce price lunches, have the potential for long-term sustainability, and include collaboration with producer groups.
  • Require The Secretary to provide technical assistance and information to further the purposes of this Program.

While the Coalition encourages its members to support all three bills, we request that particular emphasis, energy and support be given to Rep. Holt’s bill for the following reasons:

  • Rep. Holt is on the HOUSE EDUCATION AND LABOR COMMITTEE, the Committee with jurisdiction over the Child Nutrition Reauthorization, so this bill has the best chance of being incorporated.
  • This bill contains just ONE ASK – funding for the Farm to School program. A bill with just one issue has a much greater chance of passing than a bill with multiple issues.
  • Rep. Holt’s bill includes MANDATORY FUNDING – this means we do not need to advocate for funding on a yearly basis, which takes a lot of resources. NOTE: The Farm to Cafeteria Program has been on the books and authorized for the past 5 years, but was never funded through an annual appropriation.

Rep. Rush Holt’s (NJ-12) Bill Includes:

  • This is a stand-alone Farm to School bill including mandatory funding
  • $50 Million (over 5 years) in Mandatory Funding for a competitive grant program for Farm to School Projects

HR 4333: The Children’s Fruit and Vegetable Act of 2009

Sponsored by Rep. Sam Farr (CA-17)

  • This bill includes Farm to School with mandatory funding
  • Other mandatory programs are also included in this bill: o $100 Million for School Kitchen Equipment o $20 Million (over 2 years) for School Salad Bars o $50 Million (over 5 years) for a competitive grant program for Farm to School Projects
  • This bill also directs the Secretary to promulgate a final rule to update the nutrition standards and meal requirements for School Meal programs no later than September 2011
  • The National Farm to School Act Sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum (MN-04), Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03), and Rep. Tom Latham (IA-04)
  • This bill includes Farm to School with discretionary funding as well as directions to USDA to identify existing USDA programs that can be used to facilitate participation of small and medium-sized farmers, ranchers and fisherman in farm-to-school programs
  • This bill also authorizes the Secretaries of Agriculture, Education, and Health and Human Services to establish a national web-based Farm to School exchange to facilitate sharing of information, best practices, research and data on Farm to School Programs


DRAFT for Discussion—May 16, 2011


This month marks a critical milestone in the development of the Community Food Security coalition’s 2012 Farm Bill platform. You—our members and constituents—have shaped a set of proposed Farm Bill priorities for the coalition, and now we need your help to refine them. Please read this document and give us your feedback, in person or online, by the end of May! Together, we can win important federal policy gains in the months and years ahead.


Founded in 1994, CFSC catalyzes food systems that are healthy, sustainable, just, and democratic by building community voice and capacity for change. The coalition’s diverse membership includes more than 500 social and economic justice, anti-hunger, environmental, community development, sustainable agriculture, community gardening, and other organizations.

CFSC advocates for federal policies that promote community food security and provide resources for community-based initiatives, including within the Federal Farm Bill and the Child Nutrition Act. Past successes include creation and increased funding of the Community Food Projects grants, and a Farm to School grant fund.


Every five years or so, the US adopts a new Farm Bill. This massive piece of legislation sets the framework for what we eat, whether our food is nourishing and affordable, what assistance our society provides to feed hungry people, what crops farmers grow under what conditions, global grain and fiber markets, and how rural land is used.

This cycle is underway again, as the $284-billion 2008 version of the law runs its course. This round of debate over food and farm policy comes at a time of intense and growing public interest in food issues. It also comes at a time of economic uncertainty for our families, communities, and nation—when the concept of public investment in our future is under attack.

The past three Farm Bills have been key vehicles for advancing CFSC’s agenda, including by: helping low-income people get access to fresh and healthy food, promoting farmers markets, getting more local foods into schools, and supporting community projects that generate jobs and improve food access. With our partners, we won significant victories in the 2008 Farm Bill.


Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have new Chairs in the 112th Congress. The new Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), is known as a supporter of commodity crops; sixteen of the 26 Republican members of the committee are new to Congress. The Ranking Member, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), is joined by several new Democratic members from non-traditional districts—including urban representatives such as Jim McGovern (D-MA), who co- chairs the House Hunger Caucus. On the Senate side, there are only two new members of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, with new Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) known as a champion of specialty crops. Pat Roberts (R-KS) has taken over the role of Ranking Member from Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

Pressure to trim the federal budget deficit is affecting all legislation in the 112th Congress, including the Farm Bill. There is little money available for increased spending and it is likely budget reconciliation will happen at some point, which would require mandatory spending cuts across the board. In addition, several key conservation and social justice programs that CFSC’s allies have fought hard for over the years expire with the current Farm Bill in September 2012.


CFSC has been engaging our members, constituents, and partners in the development of our 2012 Farm Bill policy platform. This past fall and winter, we organized a series of Farm Bill listening sessions involving more than 700 people and 18 partner organizations in every region of the country. These listening sessions tapped into the emerging public interest in food and farm issues—most of the participants said they had not worked on a Farm Bill before. Based on the listening session results, we have focused our platform development this spring around four priority areas:

Strengthening local and regional food infrastructure; Increasing purchases of local and healthy foods through the SNAP program;  Increasing food access and supporting community-based agriculture; and Supporting Farm to School. Our next step is to vet potential policy advances related to these priorities with CFSC members and constituents, partner organizations, and potential Congressional and Administration champions. We aim to complete the platform by July 2011, with opportunities for sign-ons thereafter.


Through discussion of the above priorities with members, experts, and allies, two overarching themes for CFSC’s 2012 Farm Bill platform surfaced:  Improving access to healthy food for everyone, especially low-income people; Building local and regional food systems and infrastructure. These themes place our work for 2011-2012 in the context of our longer-term vision for a Farm Bill that better supports community food security. They are helping us to set policy priorities that will put the U.S. on the path to a sustainable and just food system, in which good agricultural policy is linked to sound nutrition policy.

Each of the priority areas coming from the listening sessions relates to one or both of these themes, which are themselves intertwined. Improving access to healthy food for everyone, especially low-income people Given CFSC’s mission and history, we are particularly well positioned to champion access to healthy food, and getting more nutritious food into federal nutrition programs. Addressing the twin crises of hunger and obesity will benefit especially low-income people, who suffer disproportionately from diet- related diseases. Support for community-based agriculture across the urban-rural spectrum, Farm to School, SNAP redemption at farmers markets, and incentives for purchasing fruits and vegetables through federal nutrition programs all fit under this theme. Building local and regional food systems and infrastructure CFSC’s mission also revolves around local foods.

As public interest in and demand for local foods grows, there is a need to rebuild regional food infrastructure—investments that will benefit local economies, farm families, and health. Food hubs, farm to institution programs, Community Food Projects and the Farmers Market Promotion Program can be engines of job creation, job training and small business development. A favorable policy environment, including land-use regulations that encourage community-based agriculture and Food Policy Councils that bring together various food system stakeholders, is also a vital part of the infrastructure needed to support local and regional foods.

Primary Priorities Primary priorities are those that CFSC considers of paramount importance; in order to gain passage of these items, we must play a lead role in advocacy and organizing. Below are the proposed primary priorities for CFSC in the 2012 Farm Bill. The farm-to-institution provisions are also proposed priorities for the National Farm to School Network. This list represents our current assessment of CFSC’s primary contributions to the 2012 Farm Bill, in light of the feedback and information we have gathered to date. However, the scope and exact content of our priorities remain in draft form, subject to change based on our further consultations and analysis of political conditions.

Defend and expand funding for community food security programs, including Community Food Projects and the Farmers Market Promotion Program. Emphasizing the community economic development and job creation aspects of these programs will be crucial to securing gains such as increased funding, mandatory funding for FMPP, tying CFP funding to inflation, or reducing the CFP match requirement to 2:1.

Secure support for the infrastructure necessary for local and regional food systems to thrive. Infrastructure such as on-farm processing equipment and aggregation, distribution, and processing facilities would strengthen regional food hubs, Farm to School, value-added production, and other rural development programs. USDA could be directed to promote multi-use public facilities through existing programs. Support would also include training and technical assistance for farmers, food service directors, and other key players in local and regional food systems.

Increase access of federal nutrition program participants to farmers markets, CSAs, and other local, healthy, sustainable food enterprises. Measures could include providing EBT devices to farmers markets and CSAs, piloting the use of smartphone technology for SNAP at farmers markets, and allocating a portion of FMPP funding to technical assistance. Setting aside a portion of SNAP- Ed funding for promoting SNAP participants’ shopping at farmers markets and CSAs, and encouraging the use of community organizing strategies, could further enhance access.

Create an interdepartmental workforce within USDA responsible for urban-rural linkages across existing programs. Such an initiative could foster collaboration among Farm Service Agency and Extension staff to better address urban and rural food access, as well as institutionalize the collaboration developed through the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. It would also provide a structure for enhanced collaboration with other agencies such as EPA and HUD—for example through formal USDA membership in the President’s Sustainable Communities inter- agency workforce.

Require USDA to harmonize and streamline SNAP redemption and technology with other federal nutrition programs. Minimizing administrative barriers to redemption of SNAP/EBT, WIC and Senior FMNP would maximize farmer participation in these programs, with increased sales benefiting both producers and consumers.

Promote incentives for fruit and vegetable purchases by federal nutrition program participants. Targets could include increasing SNAP benefits and allocating a portion of the funds for a healthy food incentive pilot program at farmers markets, and doubling the Senior FMNP program.

Call for a USDA report and guidance document on how local government regulations can support access to healthy food. Just as CDC has developed guidance on the role of local government in preventing obesity, USDA could explore how local zoning and land-use regulations relate to food access. A report and database highlighting positive examples and best practices would be invaluable resources for Food Policy Councils and other local advocates.

Incorporate more local product into the Department of Defense Fresh and USDA Foods (formerly known as commodities) programs for school meals. Establishing an avenue for schools to use these funds to purchase and/or process local products would help ensure that small- and mid-size farmers can participate in these programs, strengthening local economies. To facilitate local purchasing, the prime vendor system for DoD Fresh would also need to be addressed.

Institutionalize the tracking and evaluation of Farm to School programs. Data-gathering on Farm to School programs and local purchases should be incorporated into the school meals audit process, and data on farm income and product availability should be collected and included in the agricultural census. It may be useful to work with processors and distributors to track some of this data.

Secondary Priorities Secondary priorities are also important in the context of CFSC’s mission, but in these areas we expect to be able to play a support role—backing initiatives led by allies in the sustainable agriculture, nutrition, public health, anti-hunger, rural development, social justice, worker rights, and other fields. We intend to participate in targeted advocacy, as our resources allow, in relation to these priorities. We also recognize the need for some flexibility to respond to emerging needs identified by our allies and partners.

Protect SNAP from cuts and changes to its entitlement status.

Support financing and/or incentives, including the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, to enable more healthy, local food retailers to develop and thrive in communities that currently lack these markets. Promote fair markets and increased competition in agriculture.

Maintain support for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers through the Office of Outreach & Advocacy.  End policies that encourage overproduction and dumping of commodities. Protect key conservation programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program. Protect the Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program.  End promotion of food crops as a source of biofuels that threatens food security in low- and middle-income countries.

LAUNCHING CFSC’S FARM BILL ORGANIZING & ADVOCACY Here’s where you come in: we need your help this month to hone CFSC’s policy priorities, and then to move the platform forward starting in the summer. If you are not already a CFSC member, please join and give us your feedback—in person at the Food Policy Conference, or online via a Zoomerang survey (

f your organization or community is also working on the Farm Bill, please think about where our agendas converge and how we might work together. Other debates in Congress—on issues such as the FY2012 budget, the federal deficit, and the debt ceiling—may have significant implications for the Farm Bill, community food security programs, and other federal programs that serve low-income people. CFSC will inform members about the final content of our Farm Bill platform, provide regular updates on other relevant developments in federal policy, and mobilize our base in targeted and timely actions over the coming months.

CFSC’s major strategies for 2012 Farm Bill organizing and advocacy are: Generate organizational support for our policy platform and specific policy asks. Cultivate Congressional champions for CFSC’s policy priorities, and neutralize opposition. Organize individuals in targeted districts to support our platform. Develop and widely distribute a range of tools to advance our policy platform. To get involved, sign up for our federal policy listserv at or contact our Policy Office in Washington, DC at 202.543.8602. Kathy Mulvey, Policy Director – kathy[at] Megan Lott, Associate Policy Director – megan[at]

Dr. Oz likes Meratrim for Safe Weight Loss

Meratrim is getting a lot of publicity these days with new studies showing it works in conjunction with healthy eating and exercise to shave away the pounds. Recent publicity from a featured presence on “The Dr. Oz Show” has sparked a lot of interest in the weight loss supplement that features ingredients like Garcinia Mangostana and Sphaeranthus indicus. They appear to help block fat storage, which accounts for a lot of extra pounds.

Direct Digital, LLC has created Meratrim as part of its Slim Science line that also features Slim Science Thermogenic appetite suppressant. This cutting-edge nutritional health and weight loss supplement has been tested and found helpful in connection with maintaing healthy activity and good eating to take off the weight.

Bodies store more fat than they need for energy. It’s a genetic response to thousands of years of human activity. Fat storage has evolved to such an extent that it stands in the way of weight loss. The supplement’s main ingredients Garcinia Mangostana and Sphaeranthus indicus have been shown to help promote fat burning in clinical testing.

Testing included double-blind trials with half the participants given placebos. Test results showed reduced waists and hops along with weight loss over a 90-day period. Dr. Oz offered a plan with work with the supplement to lose weight, He called for a 400 milligram tablet 30 minutes before breakfast and another 30 minutes before dinner.

Dr. Oz Test participants kept calories consumption under 2,000 calories a day while exercising for 30 minutes, five days a week. They found they started to lose weight in two weeks and lost about a pound a week at minimum.

Meratrim fruit and flower slimming formula is recommended for any overweight adult over 18 years old. Results vary. It’s a proprietary blend that works better than ingredients used in generic form and by themselves or in other combinations. Sphaeranthus indicus is a flower extract while Garcinia Mangostan is a fruit rind extract. The have been shown to influence fat metabolism burning processes.

All ingredients in the proprietary blend are plant-based, so no problem for vegetarians. It doesn’t contain caffeine, other stimulants or artificial flavors. It’s recommended safe for adults over age 50. The brand is trademarked, so only trust the real deal from InterHealth. Approved brands include Re-Body Fruit and Flower Slimming Formula, Prosource’s Zycor, Xango’s FAVAO, NV Clinical, and Life Extension’s Advanced Anti-Adipcyte Formula.