The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is currently accepting applications for the inaugural Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance program.
The VAFA program reimburses Virginia farmers for the cost of harvesting, processing, packing and transporting agricultural products that are donated to charitable food assistance organizations.
âThe Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance Program will use our strengths in agriculture and food production to meet the needs of Virginiaâs food insecure families. By linking Virginiaâs farmers and growers to food banks and pantries, we can provide Virginia food for Virginia families who need it most,â said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. âThe program furthers our work through the Governorâs Childrenâs Cabinet and the strategies outlined in the Virginia Roadmap to End Hunger to increase access to healthy, Virginia Grown food for low-income individuals.â
VDACS is seeking proposals from charitable food assistance organizations withÂ plans that engage local farmers and growersÂ and clearly demonstrates how their project will benefit individuals and families who are food insecure.Â In order for an organization to receive grant funding, they mustÂ be registered as a 501 (c)(3) organization.
TheÂ Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance Program and Fund is a result of Speaker Eileen Filler-CornâsÂ House Bill No. 2203Â and Senator Ghazala HashmiâsÂ Senate Bill No. 1188, which were approved during the 2021 General Assembly first special session and signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam.
âWhile helping reduce food disparities in the state, the Virginia Agriculture Food Assistance program also encourages building assets, pride, and connections within local communities and local food systems,â said Brad Copenhaver, VDACS Commissioner. âThe program supports local agriculture by providing financial incentives to compensate producers for costs associated with donating local food, leveraging the Commonwealthâs number one private sector industry, agriculture, to address food insecurity.â
VDACS will use a competitive review process to ensure maximum input and benefit for each application. Grant awards start at a minimum of $50,000. VDACS will notify successful and unsuccessful grant applicants of the outcome of the competitive process as it relates to the applicantâs proposal.
To be considered for this grant opportunity, organizations must submit their VAFA program application no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 1, 2021. Applications may be emailed toÂ [email protected]
Applications may also be mailed or delivered to Seth Bentonâs attention at: Oliver Hill Building, 102 Governor Street, Richmond VA 23219. Mailed applications must be postmarked by Oct. 1.
Click here for more information on the VAFA program application.