ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 07, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CSX and The Conservation Fund today announced the grant recipients for the 2015 Grant Program for Transporting Healthy Food. Twelve charitable organizations in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia will receive grants ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 to support and strengthen local transportation and distribution of fresh produce and healthy food to communities in need.
The grant program, now in its second year, enhances the delivery capabilities of food producers and distributors, and thereby improves the availability of healthy food. The grants will help provide the resources and infrastructure that these organizations need to store, package and distribute fresh food and produce. Combined, the 12 recipient organizations provide over 82 million pounds of food or 69 million meals to approximately 2.5 million people each year.
As one of the nation’s premier transportation companies, CSX recognizes the important role that transportation serves in bringing goods like food and agricultural products to communities.
“At CSX, it’s our job to move essential products safely and efficiently,” said Tori Kaplan, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, CSX. “We’re proud to continue our focus on transportation by working with The Conservation Fund to support local organizations that connect residents with healthy, affordable food.”
The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit dedicated to finding conservation solutions that balance environmental and economic needs, has partnered with CSX to address gaps in local food distribution and find local partners who can help enhance delivery capabilities. Since the program’s establishment in 2014, the grant funding is projected to enable recipient organizations collectively serve an additional 150,000 families with more than nine million pounds of food and increase the number of meals provided by 4.5 million.
“These grants are helping improve our entire food chain from the field to the fork,” said Kris Hoellen, Senior Vice President of Sustainable Programs at The Conservation Fund. “Local food organizations are unsung heroes working tirelessly to make healthy, fresh food a convenient, practical and affordable option for consumers as well as a viable career option for our working farmers. We are thrilled to partner with CSX to help these groups expand their food network, while supporting local farms.”
Alderson Community Food Hub, Alderson, W.V.
The Alderson Community Food Hub connects everyone from producers to consumers. It strives to provide access to nutritious food, foster community participation and cultivate an awareness of sustainable food systems in the Greenbrier Valley. The organization will use the grant funds to purchase and install a walk-in refrigerated container for aggregation and storage of fresh produce, for delivery to local schools and to serve its growing mobile market program.
Berea Neighborhood Food Project, Berea, Ky.
Berea Neighborhood Food Project is a non-profit working with neighborhoods to help people grow food from their yards, with their neighbors. It will use the grant to build a mobile produce cart that will serve low income and high risk communities by distributing free produce and staple foods, as well as provide educational, nutrition based workshops and connect communities with SNAP Double Dollars and Farmers Market WIC vouchers.
City Harvest, New York, N.Y.
Founded in 1982 as the world’s first food rescue organization, City Harvest is dedicated to helping feed the nearly 1.4 million New Yorkers facing hunger. City Harvest will collect 55 million pounds of excess food from restaurants, grocers, bakeries, manufacturers, and farms, and deliver it free of charge to 500 community food programs across the city this year. The organization will use the grant to purchase over 31,800 heavy-duty produce bags (enough to hold 950,000 pounds of food) and to offset the cost of leasing six of their 21 refrigerated distribution trucks.
FACES Food Pantry, Inc., Farmville, Va.
Farmville Area Community Emergency Services (FACES) Food Pantry, Inc. is one of the largest and most efficient food agencies in Virginia providing emergency and supplementary food of high nutritional quality to qualified residents of Prince Edward County and portions of Charlotte and Cumberland Counties. FACES distributes food weekly to an average of 960 households representing 1,358 individuals carefully screened to document need. It will use the grant to support the purchase of a used refrigerated truck to allow FACES to significantly increase produce distribution through 15 food pantries in eight rural Virginia counties.
Global Growers Network, Stone Mountain, Ga.
Global Growers Network grew out of the tremendous demand among international farmers, many who came to Atlanta as refugees of war, to reconnect to their agricultural heritage in their new home. Recognizing this exceptional talent, Global Growers connects local families to land, education, and markets in order to build healthier communities and strengthen the local economy. With this grant, Global Growers will establish two mini-aggregation hubs in Georgia to supply The Common Market Georgia – its local food hub – with a greater volume of high quality local produce for the wholesale markets that reach vulnerable populations.
Local Environmental Agriculture Project, Inc., Roanoke, Va.
Local Environmental Agriculture Project Inc. (LEAP) is a Roanoke-based non-profit organization that nurtures healthy communities and resilient local food systems. LEAP does this by connecting the dots between local farmers, food producers, and community members. The organization will use the grant to purchase an outdoor walk-in to provide additional cold storage for LEAP Food Hub and LEAP Mobile Market.
Lynchburg Grows, Lynchburg, Va.
Lynchburg Grows is an urban farm that takes a hands-in-the-dirt approach to teaching others how sustainable food production promotes a healthy planet. The organization will use the grant to replace an existing 50-year-old cold storage box in order to allow expansion of current operations, including improving access to fresh produce in Lynchburg’s food deserts.
Mt. Vernon Community Garden, Cleveland, N.C.
Mt. Vernon Community Garden is a 25-acre area that serves as a free market for health and wellness. The group encourages 4-H participation for the youth, intergenerational mentoring, and self reliance by growing fresh fruit and vegetables; provides food for the food bank; and promotes exercise, health and wellness in the community. Mt. Vernon Community Garden will use the grant toward the purchase of a "Veggie Van" to deliver fresh vegetable to food insecure families in Rowan County, N.C.
My Mobile Market, Williamson, W.V.
The Williamson Farmers' Market’s My Mobile Market brings fresh, local produce to community members, encourages healthy eating habits and provides an outlet for local farmers and gardeners to sell home grown foods and veggies. The organization will use the grant to expand and develop its community supported agriculture (CSA) project with purchase of a delivery vehicle.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, Nashville, Tenn.
Since 1978, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee has provided a central distribution center for companies, groups and individuals who wished to help provide food for hungry people in Middle Tennessee. Second Harvest’s mission is to feed hungry people and work to solve hunger issues in the community. With this grant, Second Harvest will purchase additional totes to store and transport fresh green beans rescued through its innovative Green Bean Project, while keeping the beans fresher for longer.
Town of Thomaston, Thomaston, Ala.
The grant will be used by the Town of Thomaston—defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a food desert—to supply a cold storage bin/produce box for Dave’s Market, which has agreed to locate in the town. With the new equipment the market will be able to provide fresh meats and produce to the citizens in and around Thomaston.
Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank, Jenkins Township, Pa.
The Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank provides food assistance to faith-based and non-profit community organizations to distribute to needy families in four counties in Northeast Pennsylvania: Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna, and Wyoming. By collecting donations of wholesome but unmarketable food from the food industry and distributing it to these organizations, the Food Bank works to reduce hunger and promote proper nutrition in addition to preventing food waste. The grant funds will be used to pay a portion of the operating lease expense for a new refrigerated box truck for the food bank operations.
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For nearly 190 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation’s economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (http://facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CSX).
About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land. www.conservationfund.org
Source: CSX;The Conservation Fund