Link to ARC home page.

Obama Administration Announces 2015 Local Foods, Local Places Assistance

June 2015

Technical Support Will Help Communities Build Local Food Systems for Economic Growth

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2015—Today the Obama administration invited communities to apply for assistance through Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative providing direct technical support to help communities build strong local food systems as part of their emerging economic action plans. Under this effort, a team of agricultural, transportation, public health, environmental, and regional economic experts will work directly with local communities to spur local economic growth and improve the quality of life for residents.

This is the second year of the Local Foods, Local Places program, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Delta Regional Authority. Together, the agencies are investing $800,000 to support this second round of assistance.

Nationwide, local food sales topped $11.7 billion in 2014, according to industry estimates, underscoring the economic benefit that a local food system can offer a community. “Appalachian communities are increasingly recognizing the role local food systems can play in economic development and revitalization,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl. “ARC is pleased to provide funding to help communities implement action plans for building local food systems to create jobs, promote revitalization, and increase access to healthy foods.”

In 2014, 26 rural and urban communities across the country participated in the program to create year-round, downtown markets featuring foods from local farmers; establish retail outlets to help revitalize small-town main streets; build centrally located community kitchens or food hubs to aggregate and market local foods; support business incubators to help entrepreneurs start food-related businesses on main streets; enhance public spaces for people to walk or bicycle to farmers markets and local restaurants; assist schoolchildren to grow their own food and make healthy local food accessible to families, including via SNAP benefits; and develop community gardens in walkable, transit-accessible places.

Eight Appalachian communities were among the 26 participating communities. ARC funds supported implementation of the action plans the Appalachian communities developed through the program.

Detailed information about how to apply for the Local Foods, Local Places assistance is available on the EPA Web site. Applicants will be evaluated on how well the project can help create walkable, healthy, economically vibrant neighborhoods through the development of local food systems. Selected projects will support one or more of USDA’s Seven Strategies for Economic Development and the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities' Livability Principles.

Applications must be submitted via the online form by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 15, 2015.