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USDA Local Food Initiatives

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working to support communities as they build local and regional food systems.

Here are some programs relevant to this effort that are part of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Agriculture and Food and Research Initiative (AFRI): Improved Sustainable Food Systems

Provides grants to institutions of higher education to conduct research, education, and extension on local and regional food systems, from field to fork, that will increase sustainable food security in U.S. communities and expand viability within local economies.

Agriculture and Food and Research Initiative (AFRI) - Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities

Provides grants to institutions of higher education to support research, education, and/or extension projects that address the long-term viability of small and medium-sized farms, entrepreneurship and small business development, markets and trade, and rural communities.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

Provides grants to organizations that train, educate, and provide outreach and technical assistance to new and beginning farmers on production, marketing, business management, legal strategies and other topics critical to running a successful operation.

Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP)

Provides grants to organizations developing community food projects that help promote the self-sufficiency of low-income communities. Community Food Projects are designed to increase food security in communities by bringing the whole food system together to assess strengths, establish linkages, and create systems that improve the self-reliance of community members over their food needs.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

Provides grants to non-profit organizations, researchers and individual producers, including the following types:

Research and Education Grants: Ranging from $10,000 to $200,000 or more, these grants fund projects that usually involve scientists, producers, and others in an interdisciplinary approach;

Professional Development Grants: Ranging from $20,000 to $120,000, these grants spread the knowledge about sustainable concepts and practices by educating Cooperative Extension Service staff and other agricultural professionals; and

Producer Grants: Producer grants typically run between $1,000 and $15,000 to conduct research, marketing and demonstration projects and share the results with other farmers and ranchers.