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 $10,000 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 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.

APPLY

The application period is currently closed. If you have any questions, please contact Margarita Carey (mcarey@conservationfund.org).

 

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

Over the last six years, the Grant Program for Transporting Healthy Food, sponsored by leading freight transportation company CSX, has provided funding to 74 local food producers and distributors.

The funding has supported their operations and efforts to purchase and expand vital infrastructure like mobile markets, cold storage units, packaging material and more to better store, pack, transport and ultimately improve community access to fresh produce, dairy, meat and seafood.

Overall, the grant program is projected to enable local food distribution organizations to collectively serve an additional 377,987 families with nearly 50 million pounds of food and increase the number of meals provided by more than 40 million.

Click on an image above to see our Program Highlights gallery

2020 AWARDEES

In 2020, The Conservation Fund and CSX awarded grants to 9 community food organizations. Below is the list of Round 6 grant recipients. 

Buffalo Go Green Inc. (Buffalo, NY)
Buffalo Go Green is a non-profit urban agriculture business that provides services and training to the underserved populations in Western New York, including programing for students in K-12 grades, nutrition education and urban farming. The nonprofit will use the grant to purchase a walk-in cold storage unit to support its initial infrastructure building efforts for the Western New York Food Security Network.

Center for Food Equity and Economic Development (FEED) (Bridgeport, CT)
The Center for Food Equity and Economic Development of the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport builds community wealth through innovative food-based initiatives. The grant will support its FEED initiative that focuses on transitioning food pantries and soup kitchens into hybrid retail and donation environments with a commitment to community input. The Center will purchase vacuum sealers, food processors, and packaging and delivery equipment.

City Schoolyard Garden (Charlottesville, VA)
City Schoolyard Garden cultivates health, academic exploration, environmental stewardship, equity and community through garden-based, experiential learning and leadership development for Charlottesville youth. The nonprofit hosts garden programs at eight Charlottesville City public schools. It will use the grant to purchase a truck to distribute food and equipment from eleven growing locations to six community food markets.

Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina (Raleigh, NC)
The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is a non-profit organization that has provided food for friends and neighbors facing hunger in 34 counties in central and eastern North Carolina for 40 years. The Food Bank is an affiliate member of Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger relief charity, and it works every day to provide food to people in need while building solutions to end hunger in our communities. The organization will utilize the grant to purchase food storage and food safety equipment, including produce bins, thermal blankets, totes, scales and thermometers.

Franciscan Friars - Our Lady of the Angels Province, Inc. (Ellicott City, MD)
Little Portion Farm, a program of the Franciscan Friars Conventual, is a regenerative farm that donates 100% of its organically grown produce to The Franciscan Center of Baltimore. A social services organization, the Center’s hot meal program serves more than 150,000 meals to the community each year. Little Portion Farm will use the grant to purchase a walk-in cooler as well as storage bins to preserve its fresh produce until it is delivered to the soup kitchen at the Center.

Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc. (Indianapolis, IN)
Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana supplies items to hunger relief agencies and schools throughout 21 counties in central and southeastern Indiana. A member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network, Gleaners has distributed over 360 million pounds of food and critical grocery products to nearly 600 hunger relief agencies and partners serving Hoosiers in need. The grant will be used to further Gleaners efforts to modernize its fleet with the purchase of five refrigerated box trucks over the course of the next three years.

NorthWest Initiative (Lansing, MI)
The NorthWest Initiative (NWI) is a non-profit organization working to strengthen and sustain healthy communities in the north, west and downtown areas of Lansing. Its Outreach Program operates the Lansing Mobile Farmers Market (MFM) that takes and sells fresh and affordable fruits, vegetables, honey, maple syrup and baked goods to low income housing complexes and local venues in the northwest quadrant of the city. Its Food Systems Project offers a school garden-based nutrition education program that partners with Lansing area schools to provide quality, effective nutrition education programming for elementary aged students. NWI will utilize the grant to purchase a refrigeration unit for its MFM bus, a large cooler unit for its office, large container units, a pop-up tent, signage and folding tables.

The Filling Station (Pollocksville, NC)
The Filling Station is a non-profit organization established by Pollocksville Presbyterian focused on providing unmet spiritual, nutritional and developmental needs for the residents of Jones County. The Filling Station serves the community as a food pantry and was a beacon of hope during Hurricane Florence. The nonprofit will use the grant to purchase a van to pick up food at grocery stores, church food drives, community events, and the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

TRACTOR Food and Farms (Burnsville, NC)
TRACTOR is a non-profit food hub working with farmers in Western North Carolina to make sure money stays in the community and everyone has access to fresh local food. The organization has donated more than 10 tons of food to local food banks. TRACTOR will use the grant to purchase a used cargo van for distribution of fresh produce to food pantries and patients of health care clinics that have been prescribed to eat more fruits and vegetables by their doctors.

PRIOR AWARDEE TESTIMONIALS

Camden County, Office of Sustainability and Shared Services (Blackwood, NJ) purchased a walk-in refrigeration cooler, freezer and food preparation equipment to gain the ability to store larger quantities of produce grown at it greenhouses.

“The Office of Sustainability and Shared Services has been critical in Camden County’s mission to find cost-efficient, innovative solutions to resource conservation and other sustainable goals,” said Camden County Freeholder Jonathan Young, liaison to the Office of Sustainability and Shared Services. “The CSX Transporting Healthy Food Grant will allow our team to make sure that food is stored and prepared properly, and therefore reduce waste while increasing healthy, environmentally-conscious habits.”
                                
Christopher Waldron, Director, Camden County, Office of Sustainability and Shared Services


Pathfinder Village (Edmeston, NY) purchased 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.

“Within the next few weeks, Pathfinder Village will obtain a Mobile Market vehicle to start regular market routes to make affordable fruits and vegetables available to families in communities that don’t have full-service supermarkets. This is an important development in support of community health,” said Pathfinder’s Chief Executive Officer Paul C. Landers. “The other part of the program will provide employment for persons with developmental disabilities in Otsego County. We’re grateful to CSX and The Conservation Fund for their support for the Mobile Market project, and we will be working with our community partners to extend our outreach in local communities over the coming months.”
                                                                                               
Paul Landers, President & CEO, Pathfinder Village


Project Momentum, Inc. (Rocky Mount, NC) supported its efforts to provide locally grown food to low-income residents by purchasing a vehicle that provides mobility to its fully equipped, refrigerated Health and Fitness Produce Mobile Market.

"The CSX transportation grant will provide Project Momentum, Inc. with the means to provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables at lower costs for those who are in local food deserts. Additionally, the grant will help us to continue our work to educate and train youth with diabetes on how to grow, prepare, and harvest fresh vegetables. It will also assist us with providing healthy eating activities that will lower A1C's and improve overall health outcomes."
                                 
Mysha Wynn, Executive Director, Project Momentum, Inc.

LEARN MORE

CSX
Press Release Announcing 2019/2020 Grant Recipients
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