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To advance the goals of the Food Desert Relief Act (FDRA), part of the Economic Recovery Act of 2020 that Governor Phil Murphy signed into law in 2021, the EDA will use up to $1,500,000 to launch the NJ Food Security Planning Grant (FSPG) program. This competitive planning grant program is focused on leveraging distressed assets in designated Food Desert Communities (FDCs) in New Jersey to improve food access and food security. Proposed planning projects may include, but are not limited to:
 
  • Identification and development of a community-based initiative/program or resource that improves access to affordable, fresh, and healthy produce and other food items
  • Determining cost-benefits of retrofitting, redeveloping or regreening the distressed asset as it relates to food access and food security
  • Developing a plan to drive economic growth for the locality by implementing innovations around food access and food security solutions
  • Creating greater social, economic, and environmental sustainability by identifying ways to grow, process and sell fresh produce
  • Stakeholder engagement and facilitation to identify community desires and needs pertaining to food access and food security
  • The identification of appropriate additional funding sources to support community led re-use of one or more properties to support food access and food security
  • Feasibility study for a supermarket or food retailer

Grant amounts will range from $75,000 and $125,000 and will be determined based on the FDC’s composite factor score where the distressed asset is located:
  • Applicants with a distressed asset in an FDC with a Composite Food Desert Factor Score between 86.5 – 63.9 will be eligible to receive an award of $125,000.
  • Applicants with a distressed asset in an FDC with a Composite Food Desert Factor Score between 61.2 – 51.5 will be eligible to receive an award of $100,000.
  • Applicants with a distressed asset in an FDC with a Composite Food Desert Score between 51.2 -24.1 will be eligible to receive an award of $75,000.

Prospective applicants may find the list of FDCs with Composite Food Desert Factor Scores here.

For the NJ Food Security Planning Grant program, a distressed asset is defined as a commercial building or series of buildings, its attachments, and appurtenances; or vacant land that is fully or partially vacant for at least one year, that due to deteriorated condition or appearance of its exterior (because of deferred maintenance such as deteriorated paint or overgrown vegetation, boarded up door and/or windows), that can be leveraged to improve food access and food security.

A representative of the lead role entity (municipality, county, or redevelopment agency) must complete and return this Application Information Form as part of the application package. The proposed plan must be for an asset which meets the above-mentioned definition of a distressed asset, and the proposed plan must leverage a distressed asset within one of the 50 FDCs. While the applicant may serve or have offices in a broader geographic area, proposals must be for a distressed asset located within the borders of an FDC.

All questions must be answered. Attachments must be submitted as PDFs where indicated, and only respond to questions pertaining to that section of the application.

Applicants must provide a letter of support from the Office of the Mayor or Chief Executive of the municipality where the asset is located and a letter of support from at least one stakeholder located within the boundaries of the FDC.

For a property owned by a New Jersey County, the applicant must provide a letter of support from the property owner or their designee for the proposed project; this must be signed by the Chief Executive of the government entity, independent agency or authority or their designee.

For a property owned by a private individual or by a non-governmental for-profit or non-profit entity; the applicant is required to provide a letter of support signed by the owner, co-owner, corporate officer, or their designee. Proposals for directly owned New Jersey state land will not be considered.

Eligible entities must have a valid tax clearance certificate (TCC) from the New Jersey Division of Taxation. All applicants are encouraged to upload a TCC at the time of the application, however it is not mandatory at this time. The Authority will require applicants selected for the grant to submit a recent copy of their TCC. Please review the Food Security Planning Grant Program website at Food Security Planning Grant Program - NJEDA

If you have any questions, please contact program administrators at FoodDesertRelief@njeda.com.
 
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