MAFRAC Local Food Grant FAQ Page
MAFRAC offers funding to help local businesses and nonprofits source from local farmers and food businesses.
- The MAFRAC Local Food Grant supports food relief by nonprofits and businesses that are distributing locally produced food for free or pay-what-you-can models
MAFRAC Local Food Grant
- Up to $15,000 in food costs
- No match required
- Free/Pay What You Can Distribution
- Locally Sourced Food Only
- Rolling Weekly Deadlines
Local Food Grant FAQs
How does the Local Food Grant work?
If you are a nonprofit, organization or a business providing food to those in need for free or on a pay-what-you-can basis, MAFRAC will support your feeding program with up to $15,000 per organization to purchase local food, which benefits local farmers, the local economy, and your recipients.
What would that look like?
If you are a nonprofit, organization or a business providing food to those
As an example, if you are providing a free food box that contains oranges, carrots, lettuce and radishes, purchase the locally produced items from local farmers or aggregators and MAFRAC will reimburse your local food cost of goods, up to $15,000.
For instance, if you are assembling 100 boxes and need 100 lbs each of oranges, carrots, and radishes, as well as 100 heads of lettuce, you can apply for MAFRAC’s Local Food Grant and 100% of the cost of local carrots, potatoes, and lettuce will be covered by MAFRAC, up to $15,000 per organization. If you swap out the oranges for locally produced apples, the entire cost of the food in the box could be covered.
How does this apply to local farmers who are selling their products to food banks?
If a local farmer is donating food directly to a food bank, MAFRAC will cover the food cost up to $15,0000. See below for more information!
Does this apply to CFAP funded boxes or Produce Plus Program boxes?
No, those are already fully funded. However, if the Produce Plus Program in 2020 does not require local food, you can apply for our Local Food Incentive program to cover any cost difference (up to 25%) between food from the prevailing non-local system and food from local producers. You can apply for the MAFRAC Local Food Grant to fund additional boxes of local food to distribute for free or pay as you go.
When do I apply?
MAFRAC has a weekly rolling deadline; apply by Monday of each week. Your application will be reviewed and you will be notified within 7 days.
May I apply more than once?
Yes. We will prioritize funding first-time awardees but each organization may receive a maximum of $15,000. You may apply for a Local Food Grant if you are also providing hunger relief.
Who will make the decision?
MAFRAC has a rotating schedule of application reviewers from across a broad spectrum of members of the agriculture, non profit and restaurant industry in the region.
How big is the grant pool?
The more money we raise to support local food, the more we will be able to give away and we’re currently making $45,000 in grants each week.
What if I don’t know local farmers?
Email [email protected] and tell us what local food item you are looking for, and what your budget is. We have the capacity to help you find a suitable source.
Funding FAQs For Farmers
How does the LOCAL FOOD GRANT apply to local farmers who are selling their products to food banks?
If a local farmer is donating food to a food bank, MAFRAC grants can cover the food cost up to $15,000.
I am a farmer with a huge excess of product because the farmers’ markets are closed. How can you help?
MAFRAC can assist in finding a new and different customer for your food, We can’t guarantee a sale, but we have a growing database of potential customers. Please let us know about your supply chain disruptions on the MAFRAC Intake form.
Funding FAQs For Food Banks
I am a food bank with a limited budget to buy food. Can you help?
MAFRAC can provide up to $15,000 for local food purchases from local farmers and locally owned food businesses.
I raised $1000 to support food box giveaways at my food pantry. What can MAFRAC do for me?
MAFRAC can grant you up to an additional $15,000 to purchase local food to stock your pantry. We can also connect you to potential sources to make getting that food easier.
General Funding FAQs
How many grants will be awarded per week?
We’ll award $45,000 a week. The number of grantees varies from week to week based on the monies allotted to each applicant.
With limited funds, how do you decide how to allocate them?
MAFRAC prioritizes funding projects that serve under-resourced communities and historically disadvantaged farmers, with our overall intention to drive business to the local farm and food processing community.
Why is MAFRAC funding showing up in certain communities before others?
Some of our funders have attached geographic requirements to their funding— ie, they have identified a county or a zip code that they want their money applied to exclusively. We encourage all funders to give unrestricted funding, but in some cases their giving is restricted as a function of their charter and/or board of directors.
What if I was going to buy local food anyway? Should I apply?
Let your conscience guide you. We are trying to make sure local farmers keep farming, so we can all be fed in the future. If you unnecessarily claim funds that might go to help another farmer survive the pandemic, that would be a bad outcome.
What if there is a cheaper source of local food than the one I am buying from?
We don’t require multiple bids or compare prices between local farms; we compare local farm prices to the prevailing prices in wholesale markets and grocery stores. Please do your due diligence on your preferred source, then fill out your form.
Can I apply more than once?
Yes, but we cap cumulative transactions to $15,000 for each organization as a Local Food Grant to distribute for free or on a pay-as-you-can model.
How do you know the people who apply for funding are not pocketing the money and then buying from a commodity source anyway?
We require self-certification and documentation of the price differential, invoices and paid receipts. We also check with the farmers or the feeding organization receiving the farmer’s food to confirm details and delivery.
How long will MAFRAC do this?
Until the food crisis is over or the funding runs out. We intend for these funds to be a bridge to a more vibrant foodshed — economically, environmentally and equitably.
Why is MAFRAC doing this?
Investing in local food systems and farmers is an investment in community resilience. The more food we raise, purchase, and consume locally, the less vulnerable to global and national crises we will be as a region. We don’t imagine the MidAtlantic can be completely independent— nor would we want to be (we’re looking at you, avocados!). But we can be more self-reliant, healthier, and have a stronger local economy and a more reliable and predictable food supply by supporting local food producers who offer a shorter, more direct path between the farm and your plate.
MAFRAC wants to help level the playing field for locally produced food, particularly during the pandemic. We need our farmers and local food processors to grow and sell their foods profitably, so they will be here next year, and 10 years from now.
What’s so great about local food?
Buying local has a big, positive impact on local economies, as the money spent purchasing food from a local farm goes right back into the local hardware store, the mechanic shop, and on local goods and services for the farmer’s family. Many local farmers prioritize soil health, employment rights, water protection, and animal welfare over maximum production. The challenge is that local food is often produced on smaller farms, on expensive land close to metropolitan areas, with fewer economies of scale. So MAFRAC is helping to close the gap so more people can support local farmers, and local farmers can keep feeding us through the pandemic and beyond.
We intend for this funding to help support local farmers and food businesses during the pandemic, and to help build sourcing relationships that will stretch far beyond the current crisis, thus strengthening our local food system for all of us.