10/10/2019 Release from the Office of U.S. Senator Mark Warner:

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $375,000 in federal assistance to help advance an initiative in Charlottesville, Va. by the Charlottesville Food Justice Network to expand food access for youth and families, cultivate local food equity, and fuel and sustain economic empowerment through increased community-led urban agriculture. This funding, from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), was awarded through the Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP), a program designed to fight food insecurity by supporting the development of community food projects that promote self-sufficiency for low-income communities.

“With more than 1 million Virginians living in low-income areas with little or no access to healthy foods, it’s clear that food equity remains a critical issue in our commonwealth,” said the senators. “We are thrilled to announce that the Charlottesville Food Justice Network will be receiving federal support to build long-lasting solutions to expand food security in Charlottesville.”

Led by Charlottesville Food Justice Network, the Just Food for US (United Society) initiative aims to create an equitable food system through citizen-led urban agriculture, market development, youth leadership, and cross-sectorial action for local food policy. This grant will support a multifaceted effort to employ food insecure adults and youth as food justice leaders, increase racial equity practices in 30+ local food system organizations, and expand resident-led urban food production, distribution, and market participation at 16 urban sites for 50,000 lbs. of produce. The initiative will also develop food policy recommendations and help enact these changes.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have been advocates for providing better resources to low-income, rural and urban communities who have limited or no access to nutritious foods. In March, Sen. Warner introduced the Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act (HFAAA) – legislation to incentivize food service providers like grocers, retailers, and nonprofits to expand access to nutritious foods in underserved communities. Earlier this year, Sens. Warner and Kaine, along with a group of 45 other Senators, urged the Trump administration to rescind a proposed rule that would take away nutrition benefits from Americans struggling to find stable employment.