In response to rising concerns about food insecurity in urban areas, Missouri launched the Food Insecure Cost-Share Grant Program. This initiative offers financial aid to projects to increase food production and availability in cities, improve local economies and enhance established community areas with food production assistance. 

The program’s primary aim is to reduce food insecurity by focusing on enhancing urban farming and local food distribution venues. By cultivating robust and resilient local food systems, the initiative hopes to help strengthen Missouri’s urban communities economically, socially and environmentally. 

Applications are now open and will be accepted until August 31, 2023. Grants will be awarded in late September. Farmers, entrepreneurs and community leaders with project ideas that fit the grant program’s goals are encouraged to apply. 

Projects the Program Supports 

The grant program seeks projects to reduce food insecurity and foster community development. These can include the establishment or enhancement of: 

  1. Agricultural Learning Centers: Places where community members can learn about urban farming, sustainable agriculture and other food-related topics. 
  2. Community Prep/Processing Kitchens: Spaces that provide equipment and resources for community members to process and preserve locally grown foods. 
  3. Community Gardens: Public or private plots of land used for growing food that can be shared among community members. 
  4. Farmers Markets: Venues that allow local farmers to sell their products directly to consumers. 

All projects should support and work alongside farmers markets and other local economic development initiatives. They should also aim to increase food production and availability in urban areas. 

Application Process and Timeline 

Those interested in applying should submit their applications by the August 31, 2023 deadline. Applicants are responsible for adhering to the timeline and must communicate promptly if they cannot meet any of the stipulated deadlines. 

Grants are anticipated to be awarded in late September 2023. After the award, recipients have until January 31, 2024, to submit a Reimbursement Request Form. The final report for the project is due on March 31, 2024. By April 30, 2024, all projects must be complete or near completion, ready for inspection by program officials. 

This grant program is a golden opportunity for farmers and community members to make a lasting impact on Missouri’s urban food security. By facilitating the growth of local food systems, these projects can help ensure access to fresh, nutritious food while stimulating local economies and promoting community resilience. 

Potential applicants can visit the official website or contact the program coordinator for more information.