The U.P. Food Exchange, in partnership with Upper Peninsula Food as Medicine Team, is excited to announce the opening of our first ever grant program for area farms. Under this program, three farms from each of the regional planning districts of the Upper Peninsula will be awarded funds to build new or additional cold storage facilities for storing fresh produce.

The grant includes up to $14,000 for the materials and labor to build the facility as well as access to technical assistance for the construction and HVAC.

Please read on to learn more, find resources, and access the link to the application.

Questions can be directed to info@upfoodexchange.com or 906-225-0671 x 723.

 

About the Grant

The goal of the grant is to address food insecurity in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This grant program is generously funded by the Superior Health Foundation. Funds were awarded to the U.P. Food as Medicine (UPFAM) team, a collaborative group of organizations from across the U.P., to create a Prescription for Health Program and distribute mini-grants to farms for cold storage facilities that will support the production and distribution of fresh, locally grown produce. The U.P. Food Exchange is handling the aspects of the grant related to the cold storage program and farmers markets.

 

How does Prescription for Health work?

In a Prescription for Health program, individuals at risk for or diagnosed with a chronic health condition who also have an economic barrier to purchasing fresh produce are referred by an approved health care practitioner to the program. Qualified participants receive vouchers each month that can be spent on fresh produce at participating farmers markets. The project lead for the U.P. Food as Medicine team is the Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP). UPCAP’s purpose is to promote the development of the human, social, and community resources throughout the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. UPCAP works with programs that promote health and wellness, equitable housing, support for seniors, and much more. Learn more here.

 

How do the Food As Medicine Cold Storage Grants relate to the Prescription for Health Program?

All farmers who sell produce at participating farmers markets are able to accept the Prescription for Health vouchers. A farmers market vendor at a participating market that sells produce does not have to be a cold storage grant recipient to accept the vouchers. However, increasing the supply of fresh produce in the Upper Peninsula is essential to ensuring there is enough food available for participants in Prescription for Health, and supporting the health and wellness of all residents. Assisting farms so they may grow more produce supports this goal. Additionally, cold storage grant recipients will be invited to partner on future Food as Medicine programming, which could be outside the parameters of the current Prescription for Health program.

 

What is the goal of the FAM Cold Storage Grant Program?

The goal of the UPFAM Cold Storage Grant Program is to minimize or remove financial barriers that prevent U.P. farms from scaling up their operation and food production. Adequate cold storage facilities support the increase of local food production by ensuring that farms have a place to safely store produce until it can be sold. Cold storage facilities are also essential for extending the agricultural sales season by providing space for keeping storage crops that can be sold well into the winter. The FAM team wants to support the growth of the Upper Peninsula farm economy and increase access to local food for all residents.

 

 

Food as Medicine Cold Storage Grant Applicant Information

Requirements of the Grant

 

Grant Rubric and Selection Process

We want applicants to understand the goals of the grant so they can better asses if their farm is a good fit. For full transparency, the rubric used in the grant selection is shared here.

Points will be awarded individually by the grant selection team. The points awarded to farms by each team member will be combined. The aggregate top point holders will be considered for grant awards.

The U.P. Food Exchange team is administering the grant and the grant process but awards will be chosen by an external board appointed by the UPFE and FAM network. This is to ensure that any personal relationships UPFE team members have with area farmers do not play into the grant award system. The external board will include residents of the Upper Peninsula with experience with agriculture, construction, and grants or grant administration.

 

Grant Fund Distribution

Grant funds will be distributed in one of two ways. Recipients will work closely with members of UPFE to customize a distribution system that works for both parties. All purchases and reimbursements are subject to approval by UPFE and UPCAP.

  1. It is preferred that large purchases are paid directly to vendor by UPCAP. UPCAP can assist with setting up payment with vendors.This ensures that large upfront costs are not incurred by the farmer themselves.
  2. Farmers may be reimbursed directly by turning in receipts for allowable expenditures. Items should be pre-approved with UPFE before being purchased to ensure reimbursement.

 

Budget Details

A detailed budget using the provided budget template is required for all grant submissions. This should include cost of kit or actual coolbot but also all other materials or work to be done. Some examples of cost to think about include the following:

Find an example budget here.

Find the required budget template here. If you do not have Microsoft Word, opening and using this template in Google Docs is acceptable as well.

 

Application

Be sure to review all of the above information fully before beginning the application. This includes reviewing the rubric, budget template, and budget document. Once you begin the application you will not be able to save and come back to your work. For your convenience, the full list of questions is available here. It is best to ensure you can answer all questions before beginning the process.

Click here to begin!

 

Resources for farmers

For those investigating what they may need, below are some resources for learning more about cold storage.

https://www.jeansrestaurantsupply.com/buyers-guide-for-walk-ins/?___store=default

https://www.storeitcold.com/select-commercial-walk-in-cooler-business/

https://www.uscooler.com/blog/operating-cost-walkin-cooler-freezer/

https://agriculture.sc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/How-to-Build-a-Walk-In-Cooler-for-Your-Small-Farm-3.17.pdf

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/guide/690/how-to-choose-the-right-walk-in-cooler-or-freezer-guide.html