The Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFP) is under threat. Your help is needed to preserve it in the 2018 Farm Bill!
Unless Congress includes it in the upcoming Farm Bill, CFP will cease to exist. The time to take action to defend CFP and what it has done for hundreds of communities across the nation is now!
Since 2008, CFP has distributed close to $50 million in funding to 200 organizations in 47 states, including the District of Columbia and American Samoa.
CFP has been a keystone of funding for the community food security/food justice movements since its inception in 1996. It has played an essential role in supporting the growth of the movement, through its focus on community engagement, systems orientation, and experimentation.
The program has so many impacts on low-income communities and family farmers across the country that its return on investment far outstrips its small annual appropriation of $9 million. In 2016 alone, CFP directly benefitted 233,000 people, 70 per cent of whom were low income. It creates wealth and jobs for small farmers and low-income community members, while stimulating new markets, generating food donations to the hungry, teaching agricultural literacy, providing job training, fostering civic engagement, and transforming communities toward greater sustainability and equity.
Just in terms of job creation alone, the program created 195 jobs in 2016, retained 157 jobs, and indirectly created another 130 jobs. To monetize this service, we can use the well-regarded figure of $30,000 that it costs to create a job. Seen in that light, CFP generated a direct value of $5.9 million. That’s quite an impressive achievement for a program that was never intended to be an employment program.
There are intangible outcomes from CFP as well. Many grantees are applying for the first time to USDA, which is never an easy process. The experience gives them the practice and confidence they need to apply for other programs. Leadership development is another consequence of participation in a CFP grant. In 2016, grantee projects created 367 new leadership roles, 70 per cent of which were filled by people of color and 38 per cent by youth. In these ways, CFP builds the capacity of organizations to secure and manage the resources they need to strengthen their own communities.
If you want to preserve the right of towns, cities, and counties to control their own food destinies, you need to let Congress know that you support CFP and they should too. If you’re not sure who to call, here’s the congressional switchboard number which can connect you to your representative and senators. Time is of the essence. Act now!
To call your Member of Congress: US Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121
Parts of this article were written by Mark Winne and New Entry Sustainable Food Program . Used with permission.