The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (AGM) and Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) today announced two funding opportunities totaling up to $2 million through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program's Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention (SNAP-Ed) program. The SNAP-Ed Food Box and Community Growers Grants programs each provide funding to eligible groups to further expand access to fresh, affordable foods in underserved communities across New York State and support New York’s agricultural industry.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “By expanding the availability of affordable, fresh food in communities across New York, we are providing residents the opportunity to diversify their diets and support their local agricultural economy. The funding opportunities announced today will go a long way for New Yorkers, helping to get healthy, local foods on tables in underserved communities, while supporting our farmers at the same time.”
OTDA Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, "Improving access to healthy, nutritious foods is a critical component of our efforts to reduce food insecurity statewide. The Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Program provides underserved communities with the resources to establish urban gardens, obtain locally grown produce, and ultimately achieve healthier outcomes. We are proud to partner with the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to offer grants that will help expand markets for local farmers and improve nutrition in underserved communities throughout New York State."
Food Box Grant Program
The SNAP-Ed Food Box Grant program expands access to nutritious and locally grown produce to communities at reduced rates, while working to connect farmers with new markets and drive growth in New York’s agricultural industry. This statewide grant program encourages participants to make local produce available and accessible to SNAP-eligible/food insecure communities while simultaneously providing nutrition education.
Administered by AGM in partnership with OTDA, the program is federally funded and available to not-for-profits and government entities. Proposals for projects up to $10,000 are eligible. Qualifying project proposals will be reviewed and approved in the order of receipt of a complete application until funds are exhausted. Project proposals are due at 4:00 pm on May 17, 2022. Learn more about the program and apply at https://agriculture.ny.gov/funding-opportunities.
In 2021, AGM awarded 17 Food Box Grants across New York State. The awarded projects provided nutrition education through the distribution of healthy, low-cost recipes and My Plate nutrition education materials; cooking demonstrations; ordering of fruits and vegetables for weekly shares; assembly of healthy weekly shares containing seasonal fruits and vegetables; the distribution of weekly shares; and assisting customers with respect to the importance of a balanced diet in preventing diet related diseases.
Community Growers Grant Program
The SNAP-Ed Community Growers Grant program supports urban farming and nutrition education. The program provides direct assistance to community-led gardens and not-for-profit farms that work to combat food insecurity in under-resourced areas and help food insecure communities develop an interest and skillset to grow and cook healthy, locally produced food. This initiative recently expanded to serve nutritionally underserved communities across all of New York State.
Administered by AGM in partnership with OTDA, the program is federally funded and available to not-for-profits and government entities. Proposals for projects up to $50,000 are eligible. Awards will be made to eligible, qualifying projects, in order of receipt of complete applications, until funding is exhausted. Project proposals are due at 4:00 pm on May 17, 2022. Learn more about the program and apply at https://agriculture.ny.gov/funding-opportunities.
Technical assistance for the Community Growers Grant program will be provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension New York City (CCE NYC) Harvest NY team. CCE NYC and AGM seek to contribute to the successful production, harvesting, safe food handling, sustainability, nutrition, and food access for community gardens across New York State.
Food-based gardening and education is a beneficial activity that leads to the economical production and consumption of healthy and fresh food.
Community-led growing spaces are collaborative projects on shared open space that produce healthy and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables for local community consumption. Gardens offer physical and mental health benefits by providing opportunities to eat healthy fresh fruits and vegetables; engage in physical activity, skill building, and creating green space; beautify vacant lots and revitalize neighborhoods; and create safe spaces and improve social well-being by strengthening local connections.
Most importantly, community growing spaces and nutrition education programs help individuals attain access to fresh, healthy food and combat food insecurity and hunger. The purpose of these nutrition education activities is to increase fruit and vegetable consumption of low-income SNAP eligible consumers and to reduce their incidence of chronic disease.