The Cultivating Community Advocates (CCA) Food Security Competitive Grant Program has awarded $44,000 in grant funding to five local non-profit organizations during its first grant cycle. The grant awards are a part of a larger 2012 Specialty Crop Block Grant from the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA), awarded to Friends of Independent Living Services of Northern California. In total, 21 applications were submitted requesting over $160,000.
The purpose of the CCA Food Security Competitive Grant program is to encourage food localization and to support food security within the Butte County farming area, and specifically within communities with historic barriers to access (sometimes referred to as “access-challenged populations” or ACPs).
According to the organization, In the United States more than one out of five children lives in a household with food insecurity, which means they do not always know where they will find their next meal. The press release by the organization also stated the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), estimates approximately 16.7 million children under 18 in the United States live in this condition – unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life.
The overall goals of the CCA Food Security Competitive Grant program include:
• Meet the needs of ACPs by increasing access to fresher, local, more nutritious food.
• Increase the self-reliance of communities and persons in providing for their own food needs.
• Promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition challenges.
• Increase the amount of local fruits, vegetables or tree nuts grown, sold, purchased, eaten, or promoted as sustainable, nutritious foods.
The funded projects include:
1. Westside Domestic Violence Shelter, Glenn County. A large garden will be built on-site, and the existing orchards will be tended in order to offer residents healthy food as well as providing educational workshops on cooking and processing food. Residents of the shelter will be required to learn these skills as part of their residency.
2. Jarvis Senior Apartments, Chico. Jarvis Gardens will establish a large garden, including fruit trees, to be used by its elderly population (ages range from 63-93). The building of the gardens will be done in a workshop-type format in order to teach residents and surrounding community members how to develop gardens.
3. African American Family and Cultural Center, South Oroville. AAFCC will expand the existing community garden and establish a vegetable stand to offer local cost, fresh produce in the area ‘food desert’. Workshops for processing fresh foods will also be offered to the community at no charge.
4. Second Baptist Church, Chico. A large community garden will be built and used to provide fresh vegetables to participants and educational workshops about growing, processing and canning will be offered to community and congregational members.
5. Love Chapmantown, Chico. A marketing director will work within the Chapmantown neighborhood to get more local participation in the weekly farmer’s market. The marketing director will also help facilitate more farmers and local vendors in participating in the market.