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 2018 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 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.


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 eligible to apply.  

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


Download the 2018 Grant Information and Application (PDF) 
Download the 2018 Transporting Healthy Food Grant Application (Word)
Download the 2018 Transporting Healthy Food Grant Budget Template (Excel)


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, more than $500,000 has been awarded through 54 grants, enabling recipients to serve an additional 300,000 families with more than 40 million pounds of food.

Click on an image above to see our Program Highlights gallery


In 2017, The Conservation Fund and CSX awarded 21 grants to local food organizations. Below are a few of the grant recipients; the full list is available here

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. 

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.


ACCESS West Virginia (Wayne County, West Virginia) purchased a delivery truck to facilitate transportation of local fruits and vegetables produced by the Wayne County Farmers Co-Op to food deserts in West Virginia. 

"Harsh economic times have fallen upon Southern West Virginia.  For the first time in decades, many people are turning to agriculture for a means to make a living.  CSX and The Conservation Fund have provided tremendous support by giving ACCESS WV the ability to deliver sustainably grown food from local farms to markets." 
Lacy Davidson, Co-Founder, ACCESS West Virginia

Gardening the Community (Springfield, Massachusetts) constructed a cold storage unit built from a refurbished shipping container to store locally grown produce at their new urban farm site.

"Our ability to be a powerful option for healthy affordable food for the residents in Springfield and for our youth leaders to expand their understanding of food distribution for many yeras to come will all be traced back to this amazing opportunity you have provided. We are very thankful and honored to have this gift.”   
Ibrahim Ali, Co-Director, Gardening the Community 

"The cold storage unit has increased the sustainability of our markets, and our ability to offer a greater variety of fresh, locally grown affordable fruits and vegetables to families in our community.  It has also had a huge impact on the efficiency of our operations, allowing us to harvest less frequently.  We can’t thank you enough for making this possible — the cold storage unit will allow us to continue to grow our impact in Springfield for years to come." 

Toussaint Paskins, Food Justice and Market Manager, Gardening the Community

Sustainable Berea (Berea, Kentucky) constructed a 30’x16’ packing shed where fresh produce can be sorted, washed and boxed in accordance with health codes. It will also be an educational facility for food safety training. Sustainable Berea has received two Transporting Healthy Food Grants.

"The packing shed is the most important link in food production on the Berea Urban Farm.  Food grown on the farm is cleaned and packaged for distribution while  food from other home growers can be gathered on the farm and prepared for transportation.  Special features — washing sinks, refrigeration, storage units, scales, and space for classes — allow the packing shed to function as an educational facility for teaching food safety to neighbors and home growers. A packing shed means our farm will be able to feed and educate more people throughout the community."  
 Cheyenne Olson, Executive Director, Sustainabile Berea


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