USDA has announced the availability of $15.3 million in competitive grant funding for 2021 through the Regional Food System Partnerships (RFSP) program, with a proposal deadline of July 6. This is 50 percent more than USDA awarded in 2020, the first year of RFSP grantmaking, thanks to a combination of funding from the 2018 Farm Bill and 2021 Pandemic Assistance for Producers.
The RFSP program encourages private philanthropy to fully engage as partners on these projects, not simply as matching funders. USDA also encourages smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities to apply, but these potential grantees may need support from current funders to help navigate the complicated application process and understand best practices for greatest chance of success.
SAFSF members First Nations Development Institute, MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, and Thornburg Foundation were philanthropic partners on successful RFSP proposals in 2020. Join this informal discussion to hear why they partnered on RFSP proposals, how their involvement strengthened the partnerships beyond their matching dollars, and how you can leverage your support for grantees who could benefit from this new program.