The purpose of the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) Program is to build resilience in the middle of the food supply chain, provide more and better markets to small farms and food businesses, support the development of value-added products for consumers, encourage fair prices and fair wages, and establish new and safe job opportunities. MDA has a cooperative agreement with USDA for $3.8 million dollars to implement this grant.
MDA conducted statewide outreach through a priority identification survey and virtual outreach meeting to develop funding priorities for the RFSI program in Maryland. Based on the collected data from surveys and input from outreach meetings, funding priorities for Maryland RFSI subawards will include:
- Cold storage equipment
- Expanding the capacity for processing, aggregation, and distribution
- Supporting construction of new facilities
- Improving operations through employee training
- Modernizing manufacturing, tracking, storage, and information technology systems
RESILIENT FOOD SYSTEMS INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM AWARD PROCESS
RFSI awards can be used to support projects related to the aggregation, processing, storing, transporting, wholesaling, and distribution of local food products including specialty crops, dairy, grains for human consumption, aquaculture, and other food products, excluding meat and poultry. Infrastructure Grant applicants may apply for a minimum award of $100,000 and a maximum award of $3 million. Projects are for three years. Project start and end dates will soon be released. Grant applicants are required to contribute 50% of the total proposed project cost as a match to federal funding. For historically underserved farmers and ranchers and small businesses that qualify under the Small Business Administration including small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, and veteran-owned small businesses, the required match is reduced to 25% of the total proposed project cost. MARBIDCO may be able to contribute to the match for aggregation projects.