Across the country, grantees of the USDA Community Food Project Competitive Grant Program (CFP) are doing some of the most innovative and collaborative projects to change local and regional food systems. WhyHunger’s Food Security Learning Center — also funded by a CFP grant — has recently begun to profile these organizations through dynamic stories and pictures, to give a real flavor of what the projects look like and how they’re accomplishing their goals. We’ll be sharing these profiles on the blog in the coming months — and you can check out more anytime on the Community Food Projects database.
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We’ll start with Adelante Mujeres, just announced as a 2013 Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award winner! Adelante Mujeres received a CFP grant in 2010 for an initiative called “Increasing Market Access.” The project is based on assessing the needs of low-income Latino farmers in Washington County, OR, and the intersection of larger local and regional food security issues. As new markets for locally-produced food continue to grow, evident in the expansion of online marketplaces, farm to school programs, and the growing popularity of farmers markets and U- pick farms, there are a wide array of opportunities for small-scale producers to contribute to the local food system. But there are still barriers that make it tough for low-income Latino farmers to compete. Through experiences managing the Forest Grove Farmers Market and organic farming program, Adelante Mujeres is finding that while low-income Latino farmers have the skills and determination to launch agricultural businesses, they face social, cultural and technological barriers that inhibit access to these growing local food markets.
Since 2004, WhyHunger has featured USDA Community Food Project (CFP) grantees on a database as part of our Food Security Learning Center. The Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program was started in 1996 to fight hunger and promote self-sufficiency in low-income communities. Community Food Projects are designed to increase food security by bringing together stakeholders from across the food system to assess strengths, establish links and relationships, and create solutions that work for the whole community.