OVERVIEW

Many communities and neighborhoods 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 — be it a farmer or fisherman delivering food to a weekly market, distributor, or grocery store; mobile market trucks that meet people in their own community; or organizations able to store fresh food overnight for markets in the morning.

The Grant Program for Transporting Healthy Food provides grants ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 to help alleviate the transportation and related operation gaps that organizations face in distributing fresh food to markets in vulnerable and underserved populations. The grants can support 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.

Note: Funds may not be used for maintenance of existing equipment or vehicles.


APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY 

To qualify for these grants, eligible applicants must be:

  • Located in one of the states served by CSX rail (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 and West Virginia). The CSX system map is available online at http://www.csx.com/index.cfm/customers/maps/csx-system-map/

  • governmental agency – local, state, or federal government OR a non-profit organization that is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code

  • local foods distributor (direct or wholesale) that supplies or delivers fresh produce and/or perishable foods such as meat, dairy and seafood 

Note: Previous grant awardees are not eligible to apply for this round of funding.

If you have any question regarding grant eligibility, please contact Margarita Carey (304-876-7924 | mcarey@conservationfund.org).

 

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

This grant program has already made tremendous impacts by improving the availability of healthy food across CSX’s service area. Since the program began in 2014, over $600,000 has been awarded through 65 grants, enabling recipients to serve an additional 700,000 families with more than 42 million pounds of food.

Click on an image above to see our Program Highlights gallery

2018 AWARDEES

In 2018, The Conservation Fund and CSX awarded 12 grants to local food organizations. Below is the list of Round 5 grant recipients. 

Camden County Office of Sustainability and Shared Services (Blackwood, NJ)
Camden County is the first and only county in the State of New Jersey to have an Office of Sustainability. The Office manages a number of greenhouses where it grows a variety of fruits and vegetables year-round to supply lunches for the County’s senior programs. The County will use the grant to purchase a walk-in refrigeration cooler, freezer and food preparation equipment to gain the ability to store larger quantities of produce grown at it greenhouses.

Crab Orchard Baptist Church (Beckley, WV)
The Crab Orchard Baptist Church is a welcoming community of believers growing together in Christ, deliberately sharing God’s love across the aisle, across the street, and across the world. The Church will use the gran to purchase a refrigerated van that will allow their team to travel farther and offer a better quality and healthy food options—like meat, dairy products and produce--to its community.

Feast Down East (Burgaw, NC)
Feast Down East is a nonprofit organization working to grow the local food system in Southeastern North Carolina. Its mission is to create a healthy, accessible local food system, which supports economic growth in this region. The grant will support maintenance of the Feast Down East Local Motive Mobile Farmers Market van so it can continue to operate and distribute fresh, local produce in public housing neighborhoods of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Feeding the Gulf Coast (Theodore, AL)
Feeding the Gulf Coast works through member organizations and special programs to provide nutritious food to meet the challenge of feeding people who are hungry as a result of personal crisis or disaster. Its three branches along the Central Gulf Coast distribute over 19 million meals annually to the 24-county service area. The organization will use the grant to help purchase a used cargo van and convert it into a refrigerated van for healthy food and fresh produce deliveries in hard to reach, rural communities in its Alabama and Mississippi service areas.

Ginn Farms (Aurora, IN)
Ginn Farms is a fresh local food collaborative of southeast Indiana. Its mission is to work through community partners to connect consumers to local producers and grow awareness about sustainable practices. Ginn Farms generates new streams of income for local farmers while encouraging children to consider Agriculture as a post-secondary degree or career choice. The grant will allow the collaborative to purchase plastic insulated totes for its delivery service, Gardens On the Move.

Healthy Chesapeake (Chesapeake, VA)
Healthy Chesapeake is a local nonprofit committed to building a culture of wellness that supports, sustains and advocates for a healthier Chesapeake by that promoting healthy eating and active living. The group will utilize the grant to purchase and modify a trailer to provide safe transport for rescued foods and crops from community gardens and its proposed new 22-acre farm to food pantries and a centralized food distribution site in its largest food desert community.

Muslim Community Link (Worcester, MA)
The Mission of Muslim Community Link is to foster positive interactions and advance community integration by providing quality educational, wellness and referral services for all members, inclusive of the most marginalized within the Muslim Community. The nonprofit will use the grant to equip the Black Seed Farmers Market Trailer with solar-powered refrigerated coolers enabling them to bring locally produced eggs, dairy and other more heat-sensitive produce to SNAP / Healthy Incentive Program (HIP) recipients.

Northampton Survival Center (Northampton, MA)
The Northampton Survival Center is dedicated to improving the quality of life for low-income individuals and families throughout Hampshire County by providing nutritious food and other resources in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. The organization will use the grant toward the purchase of a refrigerated van that will aid in the collecting of produce and other groceries from a growing variety of food vendors in the region. This will ensure that volunteers can maintain safe temperatures for the food during transport.

Pathfinder Village (Edmeston, NY)
Pathfinder Village is a community in Otsego County, New York, dedicated to promoting a healthy, progressive environment that respects the individual, supporting a life of value and independence for people with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. The grant will be used to purchase a refrigerated van for weekly distributions by its Pathfinder Produce market, which is staffed by adults with developmental disabilities. It will offer year-round access to produce in rural food deserts in Otsego and neighboring counties.

Project Momentum, Inc. (Rocky Mount, NC)
Project Momentum of Rocky Mount will use the grant to support its efforts to provide locally grown food to low-income residents. The group will purchase a vehicle with the grant that will provide mobility to its fully equipped, refrigerated Health and Fitness Produce Mobile Market.

The Wild Ramp (Huntington, WV)
The Wild Ramp is a nonprofit organization that aims to supply a consistent, abundant supply of local food and to educate the community to recognize the impact of food buying decisions on the local economy and environment. It operates a year-round, community-supported market that provides viable economic outlet for local food producers while offering consumers access to locally-grown agricultural products. The Wild Ride will use the grant to expand the Rolling Ramp mobile farmer’s market program with the addition of a walk-in cooler and supplies, including transportation crates, marketing materials, jump seat and awning.

WROTE Inc. (Bowling Green, KY)
WROTE, Inc. is a non-profit of the Housing Authority of Bowling Green (HABG). The grant will be used to refurbish a donated school bus into a mobile market. The Mobile Grocery bus will provide individuals and families with access to affordable groceries, including fresh produce, helping to alleviate one of the main barriers that low income people face.

AWARDEE TESTIMONIALS

Capital Roots (Troy, NY) purchased and retrofitted a box truck into a Veggie Mobile®, providing access to affordable fruits and vegetables to roughly one million people. 

"As we look ahead to the future of food access in our region, we take comfort in knowing our Veggie Mobile will be here to support this growing need thanks to the support of the Conservation Fund,” said Amy Klein, CEO of Capital Roots. “Funding from the CSX Transporting Healthy Food Grant will enable us to purchase and retrofit a replacement for our aging mobile market and ensure that we will remain on the road providing fresh food for our neighbors for years to come.”
                                
Amy Klein, CEO, Capital Roots


Caring for Miami (Miami, FL) purchase a refrigerated food truck to expand their Backpack Program to get healthier fresh food out to hungry families across Miami.

“This grant allows us to mobilize volunteers to bring healthy food options out into communities that have low access to food in general. We are so excited because we will get to use our experience and knowledge as a major county-wide food provider to hundreds of hungry children through our Backpack Program. This new food truck distribution program takes us to the next level by allowing us to interact and empower families to make healthier decisions with fresh food. We are so grateful to CSX and the Conservation Fund for allowing us to expand our services to help families across Miami.”
                                                                                               
Panagiotis (Panos) Kourtesis, Executive Director, Caring for Miami


Grow Ohio Valley (Wheeling, WV) purchased a commercial refrigeration unit for their Public Market project.

"This grant provides for vital infrastructure, which will help Wheeling's budding food economy blossom. While the purchase of a commercial refrigeration unit may not sound entirely thrilling, it will provide the backbone for our Public Market project, as well as support a new point of access for fresh, nutritious food in what is currently a known USDA food desert. Simply, we consider this a huge step forward in connecting residents with the right kind of food. It's a game changer, really."
                                 
Ken Peralta, Executive Director, Grow Ohio Valley

LEARN MORE

CSX
Press Release Announcing 2018 Grant Recipients
Press Release Announcing 2017 Grant Recipients
Press Release Announcing 2016 Grant Recipients 
Press Release Announcing 2015 Grant Recipients
Press Release Announcing 2014 Grant Recipients 
The Conservation Fund's Partnership with CSX