Newark Commits $2M in Aid to Tackle Food Insecurity, Food Deserts

The funding could potentially help community organizations reach thousands of underserved residents in Newark where more than 2,000 citizens do not live within one mile of fresh food and vegetables

Recent data from the Community Food Bank of New Jersey revealed that 800,000 residents across the state face hunger every day, with 887,467 residents receiving NJ SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) as of September 2021. This number represented a 15% increase from September 2020 when 769,331 received NJ SNAP, according to data from the state Department of Human Services. 

In Newark, many low-income families are experiencing a greater degree of food insecurity than ever before due to the economic impacts of the pandemic. When Baraka last year laid out a roadmap for the city's pandemic economic recovery plan, he reported that approximately 16,000 residents in 2020 lost their jobs between February and May. At its peak, Newark’s unemployment rate rose to 19%.

The Nourishing Newark Community Grants Program seeks to create and expand sustainable urban food cooperatives, and other community-based healthy food distribution channels.

The American Rescue Plan is the source of funds for this initial round of community grant funds. Awards under this round will be for up to $350,000 to Newark organizations and coalitions.

Applications for the program are available here and will close Thursday, March 17, at 5 p.m.

The program is administered by the city’s Office of Sustainability. To be eligible for the grant, entities must have:

  • A physical establishment and/or programmatic focus to residents of Newark.
  • Programming dedicated to combating food deserts, improving fresh/healthy food access (esp. in EDA-identified food deserts), and/or providing food assistance to households experiencing food insecurity due to COVID-19.

Eligible project categories include the following:

  • Growing & Urban Agriculture: This funding category helps community-based growers, urban farmers and gardeners in Newark to do two things: Expand or significantly improve their production of fresh, healthy food; Make it available to families experiencing food insecurity, either directly or through partner relationships with pantries and other free or low-cost distribution entities.
  • Regular Community Distribution: This funding category helps ensures regular community access to free, fresh produce. The applicants will ensure that their nonprofit, school or co-op is engaged in the regular (weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc.) distribution that eliminates barriers to healthy food access (e.g., lack of transportation options, limited mobility, etc.).
  • Training & Community Education: This grant category seeks to leverage and multiply the knowledge base and expertise of Newark’s rich network of urban growers and sustainable food experts. Activities can include workshops and training activities around local farming and/or educating community members around culturally appropriate healthy cuisine and food preparation.

The city will hold an informational meeting about this program on Wednesday, March 2, at 1 p.m. Register at: https://bit.ly/nourishnwk. The webinar will also be live-streamed via Facebook Live on Facebook.com/cityofnewark.

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-02-25 03:33:06 -0800