Photo by CSX.

Photo by CSX

CSX and The Conservation Fund are hosting a small grants program aimed at improving the transportation and distribution of fresh, healthy food to communities in need. More than 23 million Americans across the country have limited or no access to fresh produce, dairy, meats and seafood. One of the contributing factors to these “food deserts” is the lack of infrastructure to distribute fresh food to markets.

This program will offer grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 to local government and nonprofit entities that distribute fresh, local foods in the 23 states where CSX operates, including: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington DC, and West Virginia.

These grants will be used to address gaps in local food distribution by providing funds to enhance delivery capabilities with support for a range of activities related to transportation, such as:

  • acquiring refrigerated vehicles for direct delivery to markets; 
  • financing “veggie vans” to bring fresh food to isolated communities; 
  • providing better access to food hubs or other sites where produce, dairy, seafood and meats can be stored safely for distribution; or
  • purchasing produce boxes and cold storage bins to keep unsold food fresh for the next day’s farmers market or wholesale purchase.
Application Deadline: October 1, 2014

To apply, please download the CSX Small Grants Program for Transporting Healthy Food Grant Application (PDF), which includes a budget form.  A sample budget form can be found at the end of the application for reference.  All eligibility requirements and instructions, as well as supplementary information about the program, are available on the application.  For questions about the application, download, or alternate file formats, please contact Margarita Carey at mcarey@conservationfund.org.  All applications are due by October 1, 2014.

About Our Partnership:

CSX has long been a supporter of The Conservation Fund’s work. Since 2007, CSX has helped restore critical habitat at two national wildlife refuges through the donation of more than 13,000 trees and is helping reconnect children and nature with the creation of a school curriculum unit that teaches kids about the environment, math, science and economics through real-world freight transportation scenarios.

The Conservation Fund’s Food Security work seeks to address the systematic barriers to access healthy food for low income families by focusing on capacity building, economic development/access to financing, community planning, public health and science and technology. “This program truly demonstrates the power of partnerships, drawing on the strengths of both CSX and The Conservation Fund to identify solutions that serve the communities in which we live and work every day,” said Tori Kaplan, assistant vice president, corporate social responsibility, CSX. “Facilitating fresh and healthy food distribution to underserved communities is exemplary of CSX’s core value of right results, right way.” 

About CSX: 

CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For more than 185 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation’s economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and small farming towns alike.

CSX recognizes that there are communities across its service network lack fresh food—fruits, vegetables, dairy products, seafood and meats that are essential for human health. It wants to help citizens in these communities gain regular access to locally grown, nutrient-rich, fresh food. That’s why the company is supporting these grants to enable farmers, churches, towns, cities, neighborhoods, and community groups to transport fresh food to people to enjoy as part of a healthier lifestyle.


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Margarita Carey National Conservation Training Center Shepherdstown, West Virginia
(304) 876-7924

Conservation Leadership Network Program Associate Margarita Carey plans and coordinates CLN workshops, communications and collaborations. For more information about CLN, please contact Margarita.