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The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) solicits proposals from non-profit organizations with established community connections in Colorado areas lacking access to fresh, healthy food. The Request For Proposals is asking organizations to present a plan on how to conduct regional outreach on behalf of CDA’s new Community Food Access program. These nonprofit contractors will be tasked with promoting opportunities for small food retailers and small family farms offered through the Community Food Access program and provide technical assistance to grant applicants.
The Community Food Access program will offer one-time grants of up to $25,000 through the Small Food Business Recovery and Resilience Grant. This grant will allow small food retailers and small family farms to increase the distribution of and access to healthy food in low-income, low-access communities in the state. The program will also convene a Consortium of small food retailers, small family farms, and other interested stakeholders to address additional barriers to offering healthy food in retail settings. As contractors, the selected nonprofit organizations will ensure these opportunities reach the communities across the state who need them most.
“The Community Food Access program is seeking nonprofit and grassroots organizations who can utilize local knowledge and relationships within their communities to spread the word about this program quickly and effectively,” said Mickey Davis, Community Food Access Program Manager. “Colorado is fortunate to have so many terrific organizations championing family farms and access to healthy food in their communities. Local producers and food retailers in these communities will be able to rely on a familiar face to help understand this new program and guide them through the grant process.”
Nutrition insecurity rates are at record highs in Colorado, and the rising cost of food exacerbates this. Long-standing disparities in access to healthy food have increased dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, 38 percent of Coloradans report some food insecurity, up from fewer than ten percent before the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 60 percent of food retailers accepting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits in Colorado are small, corner, or convenience stores. These stores often struggle to provide a balanced and healthy selection of food. Small food retailers’ obstacles in providing fresh, affordable food to local communities include a lack of financial resources for capacity-building, such as updating cold storage and technology, paying for distribution fees, and technical assistance with becoming SNAP authorized.
CDA intends to partner with up to eight nonprofit contractors to cover the entire state. Contractors will submit bids to provide outreach and technical assistance for up to two regions: Northeast, Southeast, Denver Metro, Southern Front Range, San Luis Valley, Southwest, Central Mountains, and Northwest. Nonprofits are encouraged to collaborate and sub-contract with other community and grassroots organizations, nonprofits, and local governments to ensure outreach and technical assistance reach all areas of a region. Learn more about these regions by visiting CDA’s website.
Proposals can be submitted online on Colorado Vendor Self-Service (ColoradoVSS). Select “Public Access” in the left navigation menu, and find the RFP using the keyword *2023*0342*. Use asterisks for your search.
Proposals must include an outreach and technical assistance plan, budget (not to exceed $80,000 per region per year), current and pending funding sources, letters of support, and other supplemental documents. Offerors will be required to obtain a UEI from SAM.gov. Proposals are due on June 14, 2023.
CDA will host two informational webinars about the Request for Proposal notice that can be accessed through the ColoradoVSS portal. These webinars are free, but attendees must register in advance. Spanish interpretation will be provided as needed.
Register for Information session 1: April 25, 2023 3:30-4:30 pm
Register for Information Session 2: May 10, 2023 11 am-12 pm
More information about the Community Food Access program and registration links can be found at ag.colorado.gov/cfa.