February 15, 2018

Grants Help Increase Healthy Food Access In 11 States And D.C.

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Conservation Fund today announced the grant recipients for the 2017 Grant Program for Transporting Healthy Food. Twenty-one charitable organizations in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., will receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 to improve their capacity to store and safely deliver fresh, healthy food to their communities.

For many food producers and distributors in underserved communities, limited resources make it a challenge to safely store, package and transport fresh, healthy produce. Such barriers contribute to the more than 23 million Americans that live in food desserts, or areas where they have limited or no access to fresh produce, dairy, meat or seafood.

Now in its fourth year, the Grant Program for Transporting Healthy Food, sponsored by leading freight transportation company CSX, is working to combat this by providing funding to local food distribution organizations to support their operations and build or purchase vital infrastructure such as mobile markets, cold storage units, packaging material and more needed to improve their ability to store, package, transport and ultimately support community access to fresh, healthy food.

“CSX is proud to partner with The Conservation Fund on this important initiative to promote the distribution of healthy food to those in underserved communities,” said John Kitchens, CSX’s director of community investment. “The Fund’s Transporting Healthy Food grant program has given hope to thousands of families, while strengthening local food producers and communities.”

This year’s funding will allow the 21 recipient organizations to collectively serve an additional 225,000 families with 6.3 million meals. 

"Support from the CSX grant is helping to build capacity to best serve the food pantries in Southeast Ohio,” said Mary Nalley, Director of Community Food Initiatives in Athens County, Ohio. “As the Donation Station program grows to connect locally grown food to those experiencing food insecurity, our organization needed help to ensure we can haul all that our regional farmers can supply. Thanks to CSX and The Conservation Fund, we can now purchase a much-needed trailer to increase capacity. By expanding our Donation Station program beyond Athens County, Ohio, we can provide individuals and families facing hunger with fresh, healthy foods and decrease rates of food insecurity while supporting local farmers and food vendors."    

“We’re proud to once again offer the Transporting Healthy Food Grants to local organizations who are working to ensure that fresh, healthy food is available to the communities who need it,” said Katie Allen, director of The Conservation Fund’s Conservation Leadership Network. “Their work on the ground is vital to ensuring the health and well-being of people and producers, as well as communities and local economies. With these grants we hope to give each organization the support they need to continue and expand this vital work.”

The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit dedicated to finding conservation solutions that balance environmental and economic needs, has partnered with CSX to address gaps in local food distribution and find local partners who can help enhance delivery capabilities. Since the program’s establishment in 2014, the grant funding is projected to enable recipient organizations to collectively serve an additional 312,000 families with more than 40.5 million pounds of food and increase the number of meals provided by more than 34.7 million.  

Transporting Healthy Food Grant Recipients:

412 Food Rescue, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
412 Food Rescue was founded as a direct response to the disconnect between food waste, hunger and environmental sustainability. Its mission is to prevent perfectly good food from entering the waste stream. 412 Food Rescue will use the grant funds to support its continued operation and maintenance of a small refrigerated truck.

Bon Secours Community Works, Baltimore, Maryland
Bon Secours Community Works (BSCW) works to enrich West Baltimore communities with programs and services that contribute to the long-term economic and social viability of neighborhoods. It will use the grant funds to complete the retrofitting and conversion of a box truck that will be used as a mobile market in the community.

Bread of the Mighty Food Banks, Inc., Gainesville, Florida
Bread of the Mighty Food Bank is a nonprofit organization that collects, sorts, stores and distributes donated food and basic essentials to more than 170 nonprofit agency partners such as food pantries, churches, homeless shelters and other organizations who then distribute food in their communities to directly feed the hungry. It will use the grant funds to acquire a refrigerated food truck that will be used to distribute fresh food to its nonprofit partners.

Capital Roots, Troy, New York
Capital Roots works to reduce the impact of poor nutrition on public health in New York’s Capital region by organizing community gardens, providing healthy food access, offering nutritional and horticultural education for all ages and coordinating urban greening programs in Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and southern Saratoga Counties. Capital Roots will use the grant funds to support the purchase and retrofitting of a new 16-foot box truck.

Caring for Miami, Miami, Florida
Caring for Miami partners with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by providing assistance and care to those in need while tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. The grant will be used to purchase a refrigerated food truck to expand its Backpack Program to get healthier fresh food out to hungry families across Miami.

Catawba Farm and Food Coalition, Chester, South Carolina
The Catawba Farm and Food Coalition (CFFC) is a nonprofit organization working to create a lasting, sustainable food system in Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Union and York Counties, and the Catawba Indian Nation. CFFC will use the grant to purchase and install a refrigeration unit in its food delivery van.

City of East Orange, East Orange, New Jersey
The grant funds will be used to purchase and outfit a mobile farmers market van that will transport goods from the farmers market at City Hall and to scheduled stops in the municipality’s food deserts three times per week.

Clara White Mission, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida
The Clara White Mission works in partnership with the community to prevent and reduce homelessness through advocacy, housing, job training and employment. The Mission will use the funds to purchase a “Veggie Van” to distribute produce to food desert communities.

Communities in Partnership, Inc., Durham, North Carolina
Communities in Partnership, Inc. (CPI) provides direct services to children and adults with developmental disabilities, adults with brain injuries, and adults with mental illnesses and/or substance abuse disorders. CPI will use the funds to purchase a van to distribute fresh healthy food to underserved residents of old East Durham.

Community Food Initiatives, Athens, Ohio
Community Food Initiatives has been growing and sharing its harvest since 1992, and works to ensure that everyone in Appalachian Ohio has access to healthy, local food. It will use the grant to purchase a trailer, truck cover and produce boxes to increase its capacity to serve Southeast Ohio food pantries.

Cottage House, Ariton, Alabama
Cottage House Inc., is a non-profit with a mission to revitalize the communities and the economy of both Macon and Barbour Counties through educating new and beginning farmers, veterans, women, and youth in techniques of sustainable agriculture. Cottage House will use the grant funds to purchase an ice making machine, freezer bags, plastic holders, harvesting and packing boxes, wrap tissue, rubber bands and labels. These items will help extend the shelf life of fresh produce enabling them to expand distribution to underserved populations in the region.

Dreaming Out Loud, Inc., Washington, D.C.
Since 2008, Dreaming Out Loud has worked to create economic opportunities for the D.C. metro region’s marginalized community members through helping to increase access to healthy food and improve community health, developing low-income entrepreneurs and cooperatives, and training at-risk adults for sustainable, family-supporting wages. Dreaming Out Loud will use the grant towards the purchase of refrigeration at two urban agriculture sites as well as to acquire insurance for its currently in-use refrigerated truck.

Franklinton Farms, Columbus, Ohio
Founded in 2007 by a group of new neighborhood residents committed to environmental sustainability and social justice, Franklinton Farms is a nonprofit urban farm dedicated to growing and sharing food, creating beauty, building community and supporting healthy futures with its neighbors. The group will use the grant to build three walk-in coolers to improve food storage capacity and a rinse station. 

Freestore Food Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Freestore Foodbank is the largest emergency food and services provider to children and families in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana. The organization distributes 24 million meals annually to low-income individuals and families, creating stability and furthering self-reliance for people in crisis. The Freestore Food Bank will use the grant funds to purchase a 26-foot refrigerated box truck to help get more fresh produce on the tables of the neighbors it serves.

Greensgrow, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Greensgrow is a nationally recognized leader in urban farming that engages neighborhoods in cultivating social entrepreneurship, urban agriculture, and community greening. The nonprofit will use the grant to purchase a refrigerated van, allowing it to bring fresh produce to many areas of Philadelphia that lack affordable, consistent access to fruits and vegetable.

Grow Ohio Valley, Wheeling, West Virginia
Grow Ohio Valley is a non-profit working to improve food justice and increase food security in the Ohio Valley of Appalachia through urban agriculture, sustainable living and economic development. The organization will use the grant toward the purchase of a two-temperature, 20-foot refrigeration unit, which will help Wheeling's budding food economy grow.

Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services, Jersey City, New Jersey
The Department will use the grant to purchase a refrigerated truck that will be used to transport fresh food from regional food banks and other donation sources to local emergency food providers in support of a Hunger Free JC.

Keeping it Fresh Community Garden, Marion, North Carolina
The West Marion Community Forum established the Keeping it Fresh garden next to Addie’s Chapel United Methodist Church to grow and provide fresh, healthy food and improve the lives and well-being of West Marion neighborhood residents. The grant will be used to purchase a refrigerator and a variety supplies to more safely store produce and improve accessibility for the community.

Tampa Metro Area YMCA, Tampa, Florida
The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA provides its Veggie Van to help meet the needs of individuals and families living in underserved areas of Hillsborough and East Pasco Counties. Through this mobile market, the organization distributes fresh fruits and vegetables throughout communities labeled as food deserts. The YMCA will use the grant to purchase refrigeration items for the Veggie Van, including reusable ice packs, portable coolers and freezer chests.

The Storehouse Project, Milford, Connecticut
The Storehouse Project, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides individuals throughout Connecticut with food and other essential items and shares with them the unconditional love of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through its food pantry, mobile food pantry, and family dinning center and soup kitchen, the Storehouse Project has distributed 250,000 pounds of food in 2016. The grant award will be used purchase an additional box truck with refrigeration to further these efforts.

YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County, Kingston, New York
The YMCA Kingston and Ulster County provides social, health, physical education and recreation services to the residents of Ulster County. The organization will utilize the grant to purchase a veggie van, allowing increased distribution of fresh, locally grown food, especially in neighborhoods that aren't close to grocery stores, corner stores, or farmers markets.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect nearly eight million acres of land. www.conservationfund.org 

Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 | asimonelli@conservationfund.org