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ARLINGTON, Va. – March 2, 2017The Conservation Fund today announced the grant recipients for the 2016 Grant Program for Transporting Healthy Food. Eleven charitable organizations in Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Virginia and West Virginia will receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 to strengthen transportation and distribution of fresh, local produce and other healthy food to underserved communities.

Now in its third year, the Grant Program for Transporting Healthy Food, sponsored by leading freight transportation company CSX, supports local food distribution organizations by improving their ability to store, package, transport and ultimately support community access to fresh, healthy food. This cycle’s grant funding will allow the 11 recipient organizations to serve an additional 40,000 families with 600,000 meals.

“We thank CSX and The Conservation Fund for their dedication to creating a more equal food system here in New Orleans,” said Sam Heyman, Acting Director and Co-founder of Top Box Foods-New Orleans, one of the 11 grantees. “With this grant, Top Box Foods will be able to reduce trucking costs and pass those savings along to each of our customers. The less we pay to transport our goods, the greater impact we can have on food inequality here in New Orleans!”  

“The goal for the grant program is to help local food organizations fill in the gaps and enhance their ability to provide healthy, local food to nearby communities,” said Katie Allen, Director of The Conservation Fund’s Conservation Leadership Network. “The benefits of their work have a ripple effect, not only feeding communities in need of fresh produce and meats, but also supporting the working lands and farmers that grow them.” 

The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit dedicated to finding conservation solutions that balance environmental and economic needs, has partnered with CSX to address gaps in local food distribution and find local partners who can help enhance delivery capabilities. Since the program’s establishment in 2014, the grant funding is projected to enable recipient organizations to collectively serve an additional 90,000 families with more than 33 million pounds of food and increase the number of meals provided by more than 28 million.  

Grant Recipients

ACCESS West Virginia, Wayne County, West Virginia

The Appalachian Coalition for Cultural Preservation, Ecotourism & Sustainable Food Systems of Southern West Virginia (ACCESS) advocates for the health and wellness of West Virginia by promoting physical activity, local food access, and cultural preservation. The grant funds will be used to purchase a delivery truck to facilitate transportation of local fruits and vegetables produced by the Wayne County Farmers Co-Op to food deserts in West Virginia.

Adirondack North Country Association, New York

The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) is an independent non-profit organization working to build dynamic local economies that sustain thriving communities in Northern New York. The grant funds will be used to purchase equipment and supplies necessary to construct a solar-powered refrigerated truck, which will transport food safely and efficiently by the Hub on the Hill and independent farms and producers.

Community Farmers Markets, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia

Community Farmers Markets, Inc. (CFM) envisions a future in which Atlanta will be home to a diverse, interconnected food system that promotes healthy food, sustainable ecosystems and living wage working conditions. CFM is a leader in this system, leveraging the power of communities by providing resources, educational programs and sustainable modes of food distribution for farmers, producers, chefs and consumers. The grant funds will be used to purchase large cooler display cases, produce signs, and reusable produce bags to more efficiently store, transport and market food.

The Executive Center for Economic & Educational Development, Inc., Greenville, North Carolina

The Executive Center for Economic & Educational Development, Inc. (EXCEED) works to improve the economic conditions of low-income populations in economically-distressed neighborhoods and communities in Greenville and Pitt Counties. The grant funds will be used to purchase a van body truck for the EXCEED (Access Connect) Mobile Farmers Market.

Gardening the Community, Springfield, Massachusetts

Gardening the Community is a food justice organization engaged in youth development, urban agriculture and sustainable living to build healthy and equitable communities. With the grant funding, Gardening the Community will construct a cold storage unit built from a refurbished shipping container to store locally grown produce at their new urban farm site.

Gather Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland

Gather Baltimore is a volunteer-based program which collects surplus produce and more from a variety of sources, including the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar in downtown Baltimore for redistribution to the city’s under-served citizens. Gather Baltimore ensures that this unsold food does not become waste but instead is made available to financially challenged families in communities where fresh healthy food is not readily accessible. Gather Baltimore will use the grant funds to construct supplemental on-site cold storage facilities to store surplus produce prior to redistribution.

Hidden Harvest Farm, Saginaw, Michigan

Hidden Harvest has provided a safe and coordinated system of rescuing and redistributing over 28 million pounds of surplus food since 1994.  It provides safe food handling supplies to food donors, who then generously donate nutritious food that would have otherwise been wasted. With the grant funds, Hidden Harvest will purchase food handling supplies that will make it possible to transport 2.6 million pounds of food in 2017 to agencies that serve community members in need.

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Tampa, Florida

Since 1989, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful has provided bay-area residents of all ages with opportunities for meaningful service. Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful is the local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s largest volunteer-based community, and focuses on conservation, waste reduction and beautification. Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful will use the grant funds to purchase a small refrigerated trailer to transport produce to underserved residents.

Local Food Hub, Charlottesville, Virginia

Local Food Hub’s mission is to partner with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food. It provides the support services, infrastructure and market opportunities that connect people with food grown close to home. Grant funds will be used to install additional cold storage at the Local Food Hub warehouse.

Sustainable Berea, Berea, Kentucky

Sustainable Berea, a grassroots membership organization, promotes projects and programs to educate and move people to action to create more resilient households, neighborhoods, and community. With the grant funds, Sustainable Berea will construct a 30’x16’ packing shed where fresh produce can be sorted, washed and boxed in accordance with health codes. It will also be an educational facility for food safety training. This is the second time Sustainable Berea has received a Transporting Healthy Food Grant.

Top Box Foods, New Orleans, Louisiana

Top Box Foods is a non-profit organization with a simple purpose: to offer fresh, healthy, high-quality foods at affordable prices, particularly to folks living in areas with limited access to nutritious eating options. The grant funds will be used to purchase a refrigerated truck to expand their geographical reach, increase food delivery and the number of families served.