Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

City Seeks Fresh Food Access Innovators

$200,000 in matching grants for winning applicants to Fresh Food Access Fund.

By - Mar 9th, 2021 06:24 pm
Walnut Way's Innovations and Wellness Commons project in March 2020. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Walnut Way’s Innovations and Wellness Commons won a matching grant in 2020 to support construction of a commercial kitchen. FIle photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The City of Milwaukee is seeking organizations with a vision for providing healthy food to city residents.

The city has opened bidding for the second round of its Fresh Food Access Fund program.

Twenty-four organizations were given matching grants in April as part of the first round of the program.

“An important part of reducing poverty and health disparities in our community is addressing the food inequalities that exist,” said the program’s champion, Alderman Khalif Rainey, in a statement. “The data is clear that residents who lack access to healthy foods are at greater risk for higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other health consequences related to diet and nutrition.”

The 2021 budget includes $200,000 for the program.

Seven different project types are eligible according to the program guidelines. Eligible strategies include programs designed to attract grocery stores and mobile markets to underserved neighborhoods, develop retail outlets as sources of fresh food in underserved neighborhoods, increase the stock of fresh foods in corner stores, increase the amount of locally-grown food available to Milwaukeeans, increase access to fresh food for populations with special delivery needs, improve transportation to grocery stores for individuals in underserved areas and improve nutrition and food preparation education.

Projects seeking matching capital grants must require at least $10,000 with a maximum of $50,000. Education program recipients must seek at least $1,000 with a maximum of $5,000. Grants can cover no more than 50 percent of a project’s costs and all matches must occur with cash expenditures, not in-kind contributions.

“We are not simply trying to put more fruits and vegetables on the shelves, we are trying to educate the community,” said Rainey when the 2020 grants were announced.

“I grew up on 23rd and Locust, and every time I got a dollar I went to the corner store, I got a soda, a Little Debbie and a bag of chips,” said Rainey. “What it did is create some unhealthy lifestyles and eating choices.”

2019 city report further detailed areas with food access issues.

The application deadline is April 5th at 4 p.m. Two virtual information sessions are planned: the first at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10th and the second at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 11th.

The program is available to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Businesses selling cigarettes, tobacco products, liquor, fermented malt beverages or wine are not eligible.

The request-for-proposals document and additional details are available on the program website.

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