The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) announced that beginning on April 19, 2023, the Delaware Council on Farm & Food Policy (Council) will accept grant applications for the second cycle of the First State Food System Program. Through this program, funding is available to Delaware farmers and a diverse range of food supply chain entities. Awarded funds will aid local entities to expand capacity, coordinate with partners in their communities, and do their part to build resilience in Delaware’s food system.
The Council awarded $670,000 in 2022, funding 14 projects across Delaware. Projects addressing food retail and distribution received roughly 14%, food storage and aggregation projects encompassed 21.5%, while 43% funded food production and processing projects. The remaining funds were awarded to research, tech, and education-based projects.
This year, applicants should describe how the project may benefit more operations than one – how the project will enhance the local food system and foster cooperation or facilitate resource sharing. Applicants should also have a sustainability plan to continue the work beyond the grant funding.
All applicants must complete registration through SAM.gov and provide a Unique Entity ID (UEI). Applicants must meet this requirement before receiving funding. Please allow sufficient time to complete this process, which may take several weeks.
Like last year, farmers and food supply chain entities may apply. To be considered for funding as a producer, the farm operation must have an annual sales value of at least $20,000. The farm must actively produce no more than 300 acres of fruits, vegetables, other specialty crops, or other products for human consumption. Larger-scale producers can apply, but projects should include partnerships or collaborations with other local entities or initiatives.
While not an all-inclusive list, examples of eligible supply chain operations include:
• Storage: food hubs
• Transportation: fleet coordinators, logistics
• Processing: incubator facilities, commercial kitchens
• Distribution: retail outlets, pantries, food trucks, single or multi-site grocery stores, cooperative grocers, corner stores, mobile markets, restaurants, farmers markets, on-farm stores
The First State Food System Program will again offer grants from $2,500 to $150,000. Projects may last for less than one year or multiple years. Funds may be used to make specific, one-time purchases for equipment or other capital expenses or expended in numerous ways to cover various operational, administrative, and or capital expenses. All grant applications must be submitted by Monday, June 19, 2023.
The Council is working with the Delaware Community Foundation (DCF) to facilitate the First State Food System Program through its grant application portal. This partnership allows applicants to apply to this grant program more efficiently and learn more about additional opportunities available through DCF. While DCF is facilitating the grant application process, this is not a grant program of the DCF.
The online application is available at https://delcf.org/grants. Click “Apply Now” anywhere on the page to log in or create a new profile. Once logged in, click “Apply” at the top of the page. Select “Delaware’s First State Food System Program” from the list of open opportunities to complete and submit an application and upload supporting documentation.
The funding for this program is provided through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law by President Joe Biden and championed by members of Delaware’s congressional delegation – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester.
Contact Delaware Council on Farm & Food Policy for grant program questions at DDA_farmandfoodpolicy@delaware.gov. Complete program information can be found at https://farm-and-food-delaware.hub.arcgis.com/. For technical assistance using the DCF grant portal, applicants can contact Kelly Sheridan at firstname.lastname@example.org.