Food deserts, where affordable and nutritious food is difficult to obtain, are a big problem in the US. This interactive map, produced by the United States Department of Agriculture, gives a shocking indication of just how many people, most of whom are on low incomes, don’t have access to fresh food.

Since 1996, the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Programme has been providing funding to a range of nonprofit groups, who promote self-sufficiency and food security in low-income communities.

Through the development of community based food projects, the programme intends to unite the entire food system by:

  • Increasing the self-reliance of communities in providing food for their own needs
  • Meeting the needs of low-income people by increasing access to fresher, more nutritious food supplies
  • Promoting comprehensive responses to local food, farm and nutrition issues
  • Meeting specific state, local or neighbourhood food and agricultural needs for infrastructure, improvement and development
  • Creating innovative marketing activities that benefit both agricultural producers and low-income consumers

The USDA is inviting applicants in the areas of Community Food Projects, which can include community gardens, farmers markets and food hubs; Training and Technical Assistance, which focuses on training or assistance on a particular project, such as urban farms, direct marketing and youth farm enterprises; and Planning Projects. For more information on each of these categories, click here.

Approximately $5 million will be available for this funding cycle. The deadline for applications is Monday 31st March. Request an application here, or for more information, visit

Photograph by Kate

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