Celebrating the First Round of EFOD Fund Grantees

by | Oct 19, 2021

The EFOD Fund is modeling an alternative form of finance for community-led, justice-first, food-based community economic development and prioritizes the expertise of BIPOC practitioner-leaders as designers and decision-makers.

The EFOD Collaborative is honored to announce the first round of grants made by the EFOD Fund, supported by The Kresge Foundation. Over $1,000,000 in grant funding will support the work of 8 organizations building Equitable Food Oriented Development (EFOD) projects in their communities. These projects will provide critical infrastructure to create access to healthy foods, support new and existing businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and people of color entrepreneurs, and build a strong pathway for crisis-resistant community-driven revitalization.

“While grounded in their communities, each of these projects contributes to the amplification and expansion of the EFOD vision,” says Mariela Cedeño, EFOD Collaborative Executive Committee member. “These grants reinforce our goal to uplift a development narrative that uses the food system and prioritizes community ownership and asset-building, for long-term generational wealth.”

Fresh Future Farm Group
Photo courtesy of Fresh Future Farm

These grants are an investment in the justice-first, community-led economic development work that is led by communities of color across the United States. The EFOD approach creates assets and ownership opportunities, celebrates neighborhood identity and resilience, and nurtures self-determination and social capital development by and for people of color in low-income communities – all while using a local food system as a locus for intervention.

“EFOD funding will help bolster Detroit Black Community Food Security Network’s capacity to manage a project of this magnitude. We are grateful for the leadership that the EFOD Collaborative has shown in forging a new way of funding organizations doing food related work that is not only designed to provide greater access to high quality food, but also to shift power,” says Malik Yakini, executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.

EFOD Fund grants totaling $1,065,000 were awarded to the following organizations:

  • Black Food Sovereignty Coalition (Homelands of the Cowlitz and Clackamas Peoples, as well as the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde | Portland, Oregon) – Black Food Sovereignty Coalition will establish a community co-packing facility to allow local food producers of color to create value-added products for sale in regional markets and grocery stores.
  • Boston Farms Community Land Trust (Homelands of the Pawtucket and Massa-adchu-es-et (Massachusett) Peoples | Boston, Massachusetts) – Boston Farms will utilize a Community Land Trust structure to develop community-run farm sites on vacant city-owned land, for urban agriculture career pathways in the Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan neighborhoods of the city.
  • Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (Homelands of the Meškwahki·aša·hina (Fox), Peoria, Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ, Bodéwadmiakiwen (Potawatomi), Myaamia, and Mississauga Peoples | Detroit, Michigan) – longtime community anchor Detroit Black Community Food Security Network will create the Detroit People’s Food Co-op, an African-American-led, community-owned grocery store.
  • Dreaming Out Loud (Homelands of the Nacotchtank (Anacostan) and Piscataway Peoples | Washington, D.C.) – Dreaming Out Loud will create a worker-cooperative farming social enterprise, owned by residents of Wards 7 and 8, and connected to DOL’s existing farm production site.
  • El Departamento de la Comida (Homeland of the Boriken Taino People | Caguas, Puerto Rico) – El Departamento de la Comida will continue development of an incubator kitchen and local farm product line on a community-owned site in Caguas, PR – an area still recovering from devastation of Hurricane Maria.
  • Fresh Future Farms (Homeland of the Kusso People | North Charleston, South Carolina) – Fresh Future Farms will develop an incubator kitchen on a developed farm site, where the organization also runs the only grocery in North Charleston.
  • Oakland Bloom (Homelands of the Ohlone, Muwekma, Chochenyo Peoples | Oakland, California) – Oakland Bloom will support the development of the 8th Street Collective, a cooperative of immigrant and refugee chefs who will collectively operate a shared commercial kitchen for their growing businesses.
  • Project New Village (Homeland of the Kumeyaay People | San Diego, California) – Project New Village will continue the development of the Good Food District Hub in Southeastern San Diego, a mixed-use development with below-market-rate senior housing, a commercial kitchen, and grocery retail space.

With these successes, the EFOD Collaborative sees 2021 as an opportunity to invite funders and partners to invest in the EFOD Fund (innovative and equitable lending, grants, and technical assistance), as well as policy work on community-driven revitalization with states and federal agencies.

Also, check out the launch of the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund

The Fund uses the EFOD model and criteria by investing in new or expanding food retailers that address food access issues in the state. Over the course of several months, EFOD Steering Committee members consulted with the VA Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on the design of the Fund. With the Steering Committee’s guidance, the EFOD Self-Assessment is now an integral part of the Fund application process, and grounds the process in the EFOD framework.