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Smart Growth

Local Foods, Local Places 2019-2020 Application

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The application period for the 2019-2020 round of Local Foods, Local Places assistance closed on September 30, 2019. The application is available here for reference only.


Local Foods, Local Places helps communities revitalize neighborhoods through development of local food systems. In 2018, the program was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Northern Border Regional Commission.

Local Foods, Local Places aims to support projects that do all of the following:

  • Create livable, walkable, economically vibrant main streets and mixed-use neighborhoods.
  • Boost economic opportunities for local farmers and main street businesses.
  • Improve access to healthy, local food, especially among disadvantaged populations.

See the main Local Foods, Local Places page to learn about past projects.

The Local Foods, Local Places program will provide selected communities planning assistance that centers around a two-day community workshop. At the workshop, a team of experts will help community members develop an implementable action plan that promotes local food and neighborhood revitalization. Click here to see examples of action plans from community workshops organized through this assistance.  This assistance is not a grant, and the program does not provide money directly to communities.

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Eligibility and Special Considerations

Eligible applicants include local governments, Indian tribes, and nonprofit institutions and organizations proposing to work in a neighborhood, town, or city of any size anywhere in the United States. Larger cities are encouraged to focus on a particular neighborhood rather than a city-wide project. We expect that many of the communities we select will be economically challenged and in the early phases of their efforts to promote local foods and community revitalization.

Communities with projects located in federally designated Opportunity Zones will receive special consideration this round. Click here to see a list and map of designated Opportunity Zones. Highest consideration will be given to those communities who can identify how Local Foods, Local Places assistance will leverage the Opportunity Zone designation to support implementation of the resulting action plan. 

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How to Apply

Download the fillable PDF form at the bottom of the page and complete it using the latest version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader softwareExit Please do not complete the application form in your web browser or using Apple's Preview application. Save the form using the file name: City State PointOfContact’sLastName. For example: Washington DC Smith.  

Applicants must identify a point of contact from the lead organization who will be available for the duration of the project to lead coordination of local participation and interact with the planning assistance team. Selection for this technical assistance award will be based in part on a phone interview with the point of contact and will be awarded in part based on this person's interest and ability to lead the local team in creating and implementing an action plan. The point of contact responsibilities cannot be transferred to another person without EPA approval.

Your application should give us a clear sense of how this assistance would help you and your partners revitalize your downtown through development of your local food system. In your application, you should answer these questions:

  • What is the project's geographic scope (e.g., neighborhood, citywide)? What is the area's demographic makeup and economic condition? If the project involves a particular building or site, please include its address.
  • What challenges does your community face around downtown or neighborhood revitalization?
  • What actions has your community taken so far to overcome these challenges?
  • How do you propose to use local foods as a strategy to help address some of these challenges?
  • How would a community workshop through Local Foods, Local Places help you achieve your goals?
  • What will be the environmental benefits of achieving your goals? Does this work build on any past environmental work, e.g., a brownfields assessment or cleanup?
  • What other partners will be involved in planning and implementing your action plan, such as public agencies and institutions, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, businesses, agricultural producers, and residents? Will elected officials be supportive?
  • What other assistance related to this project has your community received? How have you been able to use that assistance to advance your goals?
  • If you are in an Opportunity Zone, how will this assistance help you leverage that designation to implement your action plan?

Letters of support are not required in order to be selected for the Local Foods, Local Places Program. However, some applicants might wish to strengthen their applications by having partner organizations or local elected officials submit letters verifying statements in the application or pledging to participate in the process and/or support implementation of the resulting action plan. All letters of support must be emailed along with the application form by the application due date. Please send all letters of support in a single file using the file name: City State PointOfContact’sLastName LOS. For example: Washington DC Smith LOS

Do not include any additional materials (e.g., city master plan, market strategies, event flyers, etc.).

Email the completed application and optional letter(s) of support to by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on September 30, 2019.

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Selection Criteria

Applications will be evaluated on the extent to which they meet the following criteria:


  • The community faces issues of disinvestment downtown or in long-established neighborhoods.
  • The project benefits a traditionally underserved or high-poverty community.


  • The lead organization has enough capacity and resources to help plan the workshop and implement the resulting action plan.
  • The lead organization could benefit from federal assistance to help plan a public workshop and convene stakeholders.
  • The lead organization has demonstrated the ability to reap maximum benefit from other federal assistance it has received (if any).


  • The project supports development of a local food system in a way that helps revitalize downtown or long-established neighborhoods, promotes economic development, and increases access to healthy food.
  • The community wants to address problems with the built environment (e.g., empty storefronts or car-oriented streets), and the project has clear benefits for the place it is located.
  • The project has environmental benefits and/or a connection to other environmental work (e.g., brownfields clean-up, stormwater management, water infrastructure).   

Fit of Program

  • The applicant's goals and expectations fit with the scope and nature of the assistance, i.e., convening stakeholders to develop an action plan during a two-day public workshop.
  • This project builds on and complements (rather than duplicates) prior federal investments in the community.
  • The project's location has (or the community is working to develop) the assets of a traditional downtown or close-in neighborhood, e.g., a centralized business district, walkable streets, and compact development.  


  • Given the intended project and goals, the applicant has identified appropriate partners, including within the local government.
  • The applicant has a history of working with the identified partners and/or a letter of support to demonstrate willingness to participate in the workshop and help with project implementation.

We will contact all selected and non-selected communities upon completion of the review process in early 2020. Workshops in selected communities will most likely be scheduled during spring and summer 2020.

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If you have questions about the Local Foods, Local Places Program or the application process, please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Local Foods, Local Places. If your question is not answered there, please email

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You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.