DDPHE Issues Request for Proposals for $2 Million Food System Resiliency Grants

Support for community food system infrastructure will increase access to food for Denver residents ~

DENVER— The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) is making $2 million in grant funding available to local organizations as part of its Food System Resiliency Grant program. DDPHE has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) from qualified local nonprofit organizations to address citywide food insecurity as part of the City and County of Denver’s COVID-19 recovery efforts.

The Food System Resiliency Grant program focuses funds on improving infrastructure, operations, and food systems. The goal of the program is to support food systems infrastructure that enables organizations to more effectively obtain, store, and distribute food to ensure better preparation for future food system crises. Because the program is meant to address systemic food insecurity, funds are not eligible for the direct purchasing or distribution of emergency food.

Funded through Denver’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation included in Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s 2022 budget and informed through community feedback, DDPHE will provide grant funding to enable community food serving nonprofit organizations to improve their emergency food crisis infrastructure. 

““The pandemic stressed family budgets and exacerbated food insecurity not only here in Denver, but across the country. With our ARPA funding, we’re empowering non-profit partners to bolster their long-term food resiliency infrastructure to support families in need and our community as a whole now and in the future,” Mayor Hancock said.

As the COVID-19 hunger crisis has intensified and continued, food pantries, emergency food providers, farmers and food producers have worked to provide millions of meals to community members in need. This sustained community food work has exposed and intensified vulnerabilities in our existing food system that supports at-risk residents as transportation, buildings, and resources have been inadequate to meet food demands. Non-profit organizations need resources to support longer-term food systems resilience, like funds for building infrastructure, transportation, staff training, and mental health support.

“Supporting our community food partners will greatly improve crucial food access to Denver residents who are unable to access them otherwise in a crisis,” said DDPHE Executive Director Bob McDonald. “The better our Denver food network is prepared for unexpected surges in demand for food as our community experienced during COVID-19, the greater the outcomes will be for our community.”

DDPHE is currently accepting applications that support Denver food systems in the following program priority areas:

  • Facility infrastructure upgrades, such as plumbing, electrical, or renovations to improve the efficiency of operations, warehousing, and food storage, loading or packaging equipment, software, and other food equipment or materials.
  • Storage, handling, processing, preparation, packaging, transportation, and distribution of food; supplies; program operating expenses
  • Equipment and capital infrastructure costs
  • Value chain management improvements
  • Transportation or loading improvements such as purchasing or leasing trucks, or other vehicles, or pallet jacks, forklifts, carts, conveyer belts etc.
  • Labor/staffing/personnel; program evaluation; program outreach and community engagement
  • Federal Benefit enrollment assistance and marketing costs
  • Sub-awards or sub-grants (including contracts to hire experts in an area related to the project, including evaluation and quality improvement through surveys, focus groups, etc.)
  • Technical assistance, capacity building, mentorship; professional development and training
  • Operating costs, providing additional staffing support, reasonable transportation costs, and expenses for supplies and materials with appropriate justification.

Read more on our website or view the full Request for Proposal (RFP).

Proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. local time on Tuesday, February 21, 2023. Proposals should be submitted online through BidNet. Find more information about food systems. A virtual information session will be held on Jan. 5, at 1 p.m., for interested applicants. 

Denver must allocate ARPA local relief funds, totaling $308 million, by the end of 2024 and spend them by the end of 2026. The city solicited and received feedback from over 12,000 residents, Denver City Council, city agencies, the Mayor’s Stimulus Advisory Committee, and the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Council to inform the use of the city’s ARPA allocation. Additionally, more can be seen about progress on the programs in Denver’s regularly updated American Rescue Plan Funding Dashboard and story map.

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