Sebastopol Collaborative Receives Two Year Federal Grant to Make Local Produce Affordable

Great news from the Interfaith Sustainable Foods Collaborative:



On June 8, 2016, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilseck announced a $155,000 Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant award to the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative. The two-year grant will allow faith-based groups hosting farm stands and weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) drop sites to provide cash incentives for vegetable and fruit purchases.

Low-income families in Sonoma and Marin counties will be able to have 50% of their CSA produce box purchase covered by the grant for a full season in 2016 or 2017 and up to $10 in cash incentive per purchase at farm stands. Recipients of the cash incentives will need to be enrolled in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as CalFresh). The funding will provide dollar for dollar match of purchases for up to 190 families for a full season of CSA produce boxes; and approximately 3,000 farm stand purchases. The “Making CSA’s and Farm Stands a SNAP Project” will incentivize purchases, increase consumption of local produce, and advance nutrition education.

“Having a direct relationship with a farmer through a CSA subscription or farm stands means families transform their diets while deepening the way they view local economics, agriculture and the environment,” said Steve Schwartz, Executive Director of the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative. “Unfortunately until recently, few have tried to address the reality that these programs have been financially out of reach to so many.”

These projects are designed to ensure people don’t have to go out of their way to access healthful, local produce, since these food outlets are at sites that SNAP participants already go to on a regular basis. With partners like Village Baptist Church, Wat Lao Saysettha, and Greater Powerhouse Church of God in Christ, the CSA and farm stand projects will serve diverse populations including Southeast Asians, African Americans, and Latinos. The grant funds ensure that low-income community members will be able to afford quality food from local farms like First Light Farm, Laguna Farms, Singing Frogs, Ortiz Brothers, and more.

This opportunity will allow the Collaborative to continue to engage in more innovative work with congregations like yours. If your congregation is or is interested in hosting a CSA drop-site or an on-site farm stand with SNAP, there is still an opportunity to be part of this exciting project.

Contact the Collaborative via its website today!

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