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The New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board on Wednesday approved the creation of the Food Security Planning Grant Program, which will provide up to $1.5 million in grant funding to improve food access and food security in New Jersey.

The program, which was established under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA), will competitively award grants of up to $125,000 to municipal governments, county governments, and/or redevelopment agencies that serve an area that includes a New Jersey Food Desert Community (FDC).

The Food Security Planning Grant Program is NJEDA’s first pilot program designed to fund the development of plans to improve food access across the state’s FDCs.

Today, nearly one in 11 New Jersey households reports not having enough to eat within the seven-day week. Additionally, out of the nearly nine million people who reside in New Jersey, approximately one million live in an NJEDA-designated FDC. Ensuring access to nutritious, affordable, and culturally-relevant food is a key component in building a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy, as well as ensuring a sustainable local food system in every community.

The Food Security Planning Grant Program is one tool that NJEDA will deploy to empower local government entities and redevelopment agencies to develop and submit plans to improve food access while transforming distressed assets that have presented a hindrance to economic growth.

“Reducing food insecurity serves as a critical component of building a stronger, fairer, and more equitable New Jersey economy,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “Creative, methodical approaches such as this planning grant position New Jersey as a national leader in the fight to alleviate food insecurity. By investing in local communities and entrusting local leaders, this program will develop solution-driven and geographically-appropriate plans that will serve New Jerseyans for generations to come.”

Full details on the Food Security Planning Grant Program can be found here.