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Kresge Arts & Culture, Health teams launch food-oriented grant opportunity

Arts & Culture, Health

Food-oriented initiatives that contribute to economic revitalization, cultural expression and health in low-income communities are eligible for a new grant opportunity announced by the Kresge Foundation today. Kresge will award up to 20 planning grants of up to $75,000 each in 2016 as part of the initiative “Fresh, Local & Equitable: Food as a Creative Platform for Neighborhood Revitalization.”

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“Throughout history, food has been inextricably tied to social cohesion, health, culture and entrepreneurship,” said David Fukuzawa, managing director of Kresge’s Health Program. “This initiative recognizes both the direct positive impacts of healthy, local food and the overarching role that food can play in neighborhood revitalization.”Organizations and collaborations that lead food-oriented development initiatives in economically distressed urban neighborhoods are eligible. Planning grants can last up to 12 months. Recipients will participate in a national learning network and also have the opportunity to apply for implementation grants.

Planning grants may support project management, partnership development, community engagement, strategic communications, evaluation, policy development and other activities directly related to successful outcomes. Grant funds may not be used for capital construction costs, real estate acquisition or the purchase of major equipment.

Since 2008, Kresge has supported the growth of regional food systems intended to serve low-income urban communities. The foundation has also encouraged policy change at the federal level, and innovative place-based efforts to increase access to healthy food in cities and regional supply chains serving urban markets.

The new grant opportunity is a joint effort by of Kresge’s Arts & Culture Program, which seeks to build strong, healthy cities by promoting the integration of arts and culture into community revitalization; and its Health Program, which works to enable communities to overcome economic, environmental and social barriers to health. Kresge’s goal for the initiative is to help create a sense of place in communities where culinary ventures are integrated into community life, creating synergies that exceed the sum of their parts.

Combined with the growth of regional food systems and farmers’ markets, new and creative food-oriented programs can increase access to healthy food options in communities where few exist.

“We aim to surface and accelerate the most promising initiatives that use food-oriented development as part of a comprehensive community revitalization strategy,” said Regina Smith, interim managing director of Kresge’s Arts & Culture Program. “We see healthy, local food systems as an important way to help meet our goal of expanding opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities.”