The Chicago Region Food System Fund (CRFSF) has been announced that addresses hunger and business disruption by bolstering the region’s communities and local food system in response to COVID-19 and other systemic shocks. This round of funding centers on long-term food system resilience without losing sight of the pandemic and is rooted in racial and economic justice.
The CRFSF team takes a broad view and encourages participation from diverse communities: urban neighbourhoods and rural communities; tribal nations; LGBTQIA+ organizations; veterans; food chain workers; food system businesses; investors; and more. The Fund will prioritize BIPOC-led organizations promoting food system resilience in BIPOC communities.
Examples of the kinds of organizations the Fund could support include nonprofits:
- Able to support community associations providing local food and food system support to neighbours, such as block clubs, cultural associations, and community gardens.
- Developing new business models—alone or in partnership with businesses—to rapidly improve food distribution, consumer connection, and infrastructure while reducing wasted food.
- Collaborating with farmers, urban and rural, who prioritize sales into local and regional markets, especially in communities of colour.
- Working with food chain workers at high risk of contracting COVID-19.
- Focusing on innovation, investment, policy, or media narratives to reduce barriers and take advantage of market shifts.
- Applications will be accepted for amounts up to $200,000.
- Only 501(c)(3) organizations or fiscal sponsors are eligible to apply, and there are loose geographic restrictions. The Chicago Region Food Fund focuses on an area roughly 200 miles from Chicago. Tribal nations located more than 200 miles from Chicago are eligible to apply if the Chicago region is part of their market.
- In Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties, funding consideration includes nonprofits working with: urban and peri-urban farmers; food hubs/cooperatives; farmers markets; community organizations with close ties to informal community associations; food businesses (processors, distributors, slaughterhouses, retail, restaurants, institutional providers); food chain workers impacted by COVID or at a high risk of contracting the virus; emergency food system organizations integrating local food; and wasted food projects.
- Funding consideration in other regions of Illinois, southeast Wisconsin, northwest Indiana, and southwest Michigan is for nonprofits working with rural farmers, food aggregation hubs, and food processors that include the Chicago metropolitan area as part of their market. This includes nonprofits supporting food chain workers impacted by COVID-19 or at high risk of contracting the virus. Tribal nations and indigenous peoples’ organizations that prioritize the Chicago region as part of a food sovereignty strategy will also be considered.
How To Apply
- To apply for funding, follow the link to the online application system and complete three steps: answer the eligibility quiz, fill out the registration form to create an online account, then fill out and submit an application.
- For more information about the online application system, please see a list of FAQs about the online application system on their website.
For more information, visit http://www.chicagoregionfoodfund.org/