Communities are invited to apply for assistance from Local Foods, Local Places, a new program supported by EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to help create more livable places by promoting local foods. Together, the agencies are investing $650,000 in the Local Foods, Local Places program, which aims to:
- Boost economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses, and foster entrepreneurship;
- Improve access to healthy local food, particularly among disadvantaged groups with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables; and
- Revitalize downtowns, main street districts, and traditional neighborhoods by supporting farmers’ markets, food hubs, community gardens, community kitchens, and other kinds of local food enterprises, and by providing people with affordable choices for accessing those amenities, such as walking, biking, or taking transit.
Local Foods, Local Places will provide direct technical support to selected communities to help them develop and implement action plans promoting local food and downtown revitalization. Special consideration will be given to communities that are in the early stages of developing or restoring local food enterprises and creating economically vibrant communities. Selected communities in Appalachia and the Delta region will be eligible to receive financial assistance to help them implement those plans.
Local Foods, Local Places builds on the ARC-EPA-USDA Livable Communities in Appalachia partnership, which works to promote economic development, preserve rural lands, and increase access to locally grown food in Appalachian towns and rural communities.
Communities anywhere in the United States are eligible to apply. Particular consideration will be given to communities in the following places:
- Areas served by the Appalachian Regional Commission in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
- Areas served by the Delta Regional Authority in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.
- Federally designated Promise Zones in the Choctaw Nation region of Southeast Oklahoma; Los Angeles, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; and Southeastern Kentucky.
- USDA-designated StrikeForce counties in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
How to Apply
Communities are invited to submit a letter of interest of no more than two pages that describes the community’s needs and goals related to local food and the revitalization of downtowns and traditional neighborhoods. The letter should indicate a primary point of contact and other members of the community or organizations that would participate in the technical assistance process. Communities are strongly encouraged to seek the support of their local development district or regional development organization, or, alternatively, a local community college or university, and to indicate this partner organization in their letter of interest. Letters of interest may be submitted by any community representative, including representatives of local government and nongovernmental organizations.
Applicants will be evaluated on their commitment to USDA’s Seven Strategies for Economic Development and the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities’ Livability Principles, as well as their potential for success in:
- Producing and distributing healthy local food;
- Creating economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses;
- Expanding access to healthy foods among disadvantaged members of the community;
- Revitalizing existing downtowns, main streets, and neighborhoods; and
- Partnering with local agricultural producers, business, government, transportation, education, and other relevant organizations.
Submit letters of interest by email to Ed Fendley at email@example.com by July 15, 2014. Please include “Local Foods, Local Places” and the name of the community in the subject line of the email.