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Smart Growth

Local Foods, Local Places 2020-2021 Application

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The application for this round of planning assistance from Local Foods, Local Places closed on November 13, 2020. This page is for reference only.


Local Foods, Local Places helps communities revitalize neighborhoods through development of local food systems. In 2020, the program is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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 each workshop, a team of experts helps community members develop an implementable action plan that promotes local food and neighborhood revitalization. Workshops have typically been held in person in the selected communities, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, EPA is conducting all workshops online until it is safe to resume in-person visits. 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 strongly 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

Step 1: 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.

Step 2: Save the form on your computer using the file name: City State PointOfContact’sLastName. For example: Washington DC Smith

Step 3: Fill out the file you saved on your computer. Please note important information below about filling out the application.

Step 4: Email the completed application file and optional letter(s) of support file (see below for more information) to by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on November 13, 2020. Do not include any additional materials (e.g., city master plan, market strategies, event flyers, etc.).

Applicants must identify a local 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 this person's interest and ability to lead the local team in creating and implementing an action plan. If the point of contact listed in the application is changed or they transfer their responsibilities to another person after being selected, they shall inform EPA first, and EPA reserves the right to reconsider whether to proceed in offering Local Foods, Local Places technical assistance sought in the original application.

It is possible that many of the Local Foods, Local Places workshops in 2021 will be conducted online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If your application is selected as a finalist for technical assistance, we will follow up with you to determine any technological limitations that might make it difficult to conduct a public workshop online in your community, and consider options for overcoming those limitations on a case-by-case basis.

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 street 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 or local planning efforts (e.g., a brownfields assessment or cleanup)?
  • Have you received a past USDA Agriculture Marketing Service grant? If so, how would you build on the work accomplished under it?
  • 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, strong preference is given to applications that include signed letters of support from partner neighborhood groups, local organizations, or local elected officials that verify statements in the application, pledge to participate in the process or on the steering committee, 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 a single file combining all letters of support using the file name: City State PointOfContact’sLastName LOS. For example: Washington DC Smith LOS

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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 community or neighborhood residents face challenges in accessing healthy, local foods.
  • The project benefits a traditionally underserved or high-poverty community, especially where historical racial, cultural, and socioeconomic factors might adversely affect residents’ access to healthy local food, downtown or neighborhood revitalization, or meaningful community engagement in planning and local decision-making.


  • 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 lead organization and partners demonstrate desire and ability to pursue, measure, and complete actions supporting Local Foods, Local Places goals developed in the workshop.


  • 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 that are not safe for pedestrians), 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 cleanup, 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 central 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 2021. Workshops in selected communities will most likely be scheduled during summer 2021. A determination will be made in 2021 closer to the time of the workshops whether to conduct the workshops in person or virtually.

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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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