Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Community Resources


1.      Strategic Economic and Community Development

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is excited to share a new Rural Development funding opportunity authorized by Section 6025 of the 2014 Farm Bill. This new authority entitled Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) prioritizes projects that support the implementation of multi-jurisdictional plans under the Community Facilities Program, Water and Waste Disposal Program, Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program, and Rural Business Development Grant Program. Under this provision, up to 10 percent of each programs annual appropriations can be set aside and made available to eligible SECD applicants. Many communities already working together to develop multi-jurisdictional plans with the help of strategic partners including non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, university extensions, regional authorities, coalitions of counties/towns and federal agencies. The goal of SECD is to promote collaboration in rural communities and across Rural Development agencies and programs. Communities are incentivized to align resources, develop long-term community and economic growth strategies and engage federal, state and local partners. By promoting this regional focus USDA resources can be more effectively utilized and have a larger impact on rural capacity building and wealth creation.


2.      Colocation America Invites Applications for STEM Innovation Grant

Grants of up to $7,500 will be awarded in support of programs that increase student interest and encourage more students to pursue a career in STEM-related fields....

POSTED: April 19, 2017
DEADLINE: May 26, 2017


3.      Assistance for Arts Education Programs-Professional Development for Arts Educators Grants

$7.1 million to support the implementation of high-quality professional development programs for arts educators and other instructional staff of schools in which 50% or more of students are from low-income families.  Eligible: districts, in partnership with public and private entities.  Deadline: May 30.


4.      The Brookdale Foundation Group

The Brookdale Foundation Group has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the creation or expansion of supportive services to grandparents and other relatives raising children. Up to 15 programs will be selected to receive a seed grant of $15,000 ($10,000 and $5,000 respectively), contingent upon progress made during year one and potential for continuity in the future. Deadline: 6/5/2017.


5.      Turnaround Management Association Invites Nominations for 2017 Excellence in Teaching Awards

The annual $5,000 prize honors teachers who have demonstrated an ability to change students' lives and the communities where they teach....

POSTED: April 21, 2017
DEADLINE: June 12, 2017


6.      Fuel Up to Play 60 Invites Applications for K-12 Healthy Food Programs

Grants of up to $4,000 per year will be awarded to qualified K-12 schools to jumpstart healthy changes....

POSTED: April 15, 2017
DEADLINE: June 14, 2017


7.      SBA – Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act (PRIME)

PRIME provides grant funding to nonprofit, microenterprise development organizations for the purpose of (i) providing training and technical assistance to disadvantaged entrepreneurs; (ii) providing training and capacity building assistance to microenterprise development organizations (MDOs) and programs; and (iii) aiding in Research and development of best practices for microenterprise and technical assistance programs for disadvantaged entrepreneurs.  Bonus points are awarded to organizations proposing to strengthen the capacity of cooperatives serving economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs and areas; and/or to support entrepreneurship among ex-offenders in the criminal justice system. Applications close on June 16, 2017. 


8.      Regional Innovation Strategies 2017 funding available

The Economic Development Administration is seeking applications through June 23 for the 2017 Regional Innovation Strategies program. Through SSTI’s work with Congress, a record $17 million is available this year. Along with increased funding, the notice of funding availability includes a few changes from previous years. More information will also be available in a webinar SSTI is hosting with EDA on May 22 at 3 p.m. EDT.


9.      Rural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants Program
Provides funding to community-based, outreach education and extension programs at land-grant colleges and universities that provide individuals and families based in rural areas with information on health, wellness, and prevention, including information regarding the issue of substance abuse in rural communities.
Geographic Coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Jun 30, 2017
Sponsors: U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture


10.   Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program Grants
Provides grants to improve telemedicine services and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telemedicine, computer networks, and related advanced technologies.
Geographic Coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Jul 17, 2017
Sponsors: U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA Rural Development, USDA Rural Utilities Service


11.   Delta Health Care Services Grant Program

The Rural Business-Cooperative Service (Agency) is accepting fiscal year (FY) 2017 applications for the Delta Health Care Services (DHCS) grant program. The purpose of this program is to provide financial assistance to address the continued unmet health needs in the Delta Region through cooperation among health care professionals, institutions of higher education, research institutions, and economic development entities in the Delta Region. You must submit completed applications for grants according to the following deadlines:

Ø  Paper copies must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than Monday, July 24, 2017.

Ø  Electronic copies must be received by Monday, July 17, 2017. Late applications are not eligible for funding under this Notice and will not be evaluated.

12.   Rural Business Development Grants
Supports targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues.
Geographic Coverage: Nationwide
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis
Sponsors: U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA Rural Development


13.   SBA Loans
Provides loans to small businesses (including small healthcare practices) for working capital; equipment purchase; real estate purchase; building construction or renovation; business acquisition; and debt refinancing.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Applications accepted on an ongoing basis
Small Business Administration


14.   More Grants & Funding



1.      Rural Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse Toolkit
This new toolkit, developed by the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, provides information, strategies, and resources to help rural communities implement substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. Browse program models and examples, and learn how to implement, evaluate, and sustain a program in your community and disseminate program results.


2.      Survival rates of manufacturing plants vary by county type and ownership structure

Between the 2001 and 2007-09 recessions, U.S. manufacturing employment fell by close to 30 percent. In many communities, the closing of a manufacturing plant can reduce local employment, earnings, and government tax revenue. To improve understanding of the factors affecting the survival of manufacturing plants, ERS studied plant survival over a 15-year period (1996 to 2011). Over this period, the average survival rate—the share of plants that were still employers—in rural (nonmetro) counties was 57 percent. By comparison, plants in urban (metro) counties had an average survival rate of 53 percent during this period. Survival rates also varied by ownership structure: Overall, independent plants (single-unit plants with only one physical location) had a 59-percent survival rate, while multi-unit plants had a 50-percent survival rate. Independent plants located in rural counties had the highest average survival rate (62 percent). Although States and regions have long tended to put more effort into recruiting and retaining multi-unit plants, the research shows that independent plants are more likely to survive—in both rural and urban counties.


3.      Households shopping at supermarkets, supercenters, and warehouse club stores have highest healthy basket scores

Over the past two decades, some store formats—including supercenters, dollar stores, and warehouse club stores—have increased their share of Americans’ spending on “at-home food”—food and beverages purchased from retail stores. Shifts between store formats could have implications for shopping patterns. A recent ERS study computed “healthy basket” scores for monthly at-home food and beverage purchases. The higher the score, the closer a household’s purchases aligned with healthy-diet expenditure shares. Baskets were categorized by the format accounting for the household’s largest share of food expenditures. Scores were highest for households predominantly shopping at warehouse club stores (8.3), supermarkets (8.2), and supercenters (8.0). Household food baskets dominated by purchases from drug stores, convenience stores, and dollar stores had the least healthful purchases. Over 2008-12, an average of 67 percent of households in the data predominantly shopped at supermarkets, 17 percent at supercenters, and 6 percent at warehouse club stores. The other 10 percent shopped predominately at drug, dollar, convenience, and other store formats.


4.      Western irrigation has become more efficient over time

Efficient irrigation systems can help maintain farm profitability in an era of increasingly limited and more costly water supplies. More efficient gravity irrigation uses the force of gravity and field borders or furrows to distribute water across a field. It may also use laser-leveling to improve flood irrigation. More efficient pressure-sprinkler irrigation delivers water under lower pressure sprinklers and systems using drip/trickle tubes and micro-spray nozzles. The efficiency of irrigation systems is particularly important in the Western States—such as Nebraska, California, and Texas—where water demand for agriculture is greatest and diminishing water supplies are expected to affect future water availability. Data from USDA’s Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey (FRIS) show that irrigated agriculture in the West has become more efficient over time. More efficient irrigation systems (both gravity and pressure-sprinkler) were used on about 36 percent of total irrigated acres in the West in 1994, but increased to nearly half by 2013. More efficient pressure-sprinkler irrigation alone accounted for about 15 percent in 1994, but more than 37 percent in 2013. The share of acres using more efficient gravity systems peaked in the late 1990s, but then declined as farmers increasingly turned to the even more efficient pressure-sprinkler systems.


5.      Rural school districts less likely to serve local food frequently in school meals

According to USDA’s 2013 Farm to School Census, 35 percent of all U.S. school districts reported serving local food in school meals during the 2011-12 school year. Twenty-two percent of all school districts served at least one locally-sourced food item daily or more than weekly, and 19 percent of school districts—containing 30 percent of U.S. school children—served local food daily. ERS researchers analyzed data from the Farm to School Census to identify which types of school districts were more likely versus less likely to serve local foods frequently in school meals. Rural school districts were 11.2 percentage points less likely to serve local food daily than school districts in cities, after accounting for other school district characteristics, such as region, enrollment level, per capita income of the surrounding county’s residents, and county-level density of farmers’ markets. School districts in suburbs and towns were also significantly less likely to serve local food daily compared to districts in cities.


6.      Poorest U.S. households spent 33 percent of their incomes on food in 2015

While households spend more money on food as their incomes rise, food expenditures represent a smaller portion of income as households allocate additional funds to other goods. In 2015, U.S. households in the highest income quintile spent an average of $12,350 on food—both from grocery stores and eating out. This spending accounted for 8.7 percent of their incomes. Middle income households spent an average of $5,799 on food, or 12.4 percent of their incomes. Households in the lowest income quintile spent less for food on average—$3,767 in 2015—but their food expenditures accounted for 33 percent of their incomes. Two years earlier, the lowest income quintile spent 36.2 percent of their incomes on food. The share of income spent on food depends on several factors, including food prices and incomes. While retail food price inflation was relatively low in 2013, income levels were also lower than in 2015, contributing to the higher percent of income spent on food in 2013 by the lowest income households. Food expenditures as a share of income could fall in 2016 and 2017 across income levels due to declining retail food prices in 2016 and a continued trend downwards in prices for some foods in 2017.


7.      Personal income grows, state ranks largely unchanged

According to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis state personal income data, national per capita income grew 4.0 percent from 2015 to 2016, and growth since 2012 is at 12.0 percent. States are experiencing this growth disparately, however, with five-year growth rates ranging from -0.6 percent (North Dakota) to 17.6 percent (California). Over this period, few states experienced significant changes in their performance relative to their peers — just four states moved more than five rankings — but shifts between income quintiles and variable growth rates suggest that more movement will be witnessed over the next few years.


8.      Majority of Native Americans Live in Rural Areas and Small Towns, Not in Urban Areas as Commonly Reported, According to New “Twice Invisible” Report

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today published a report that clears up a longstanding “urban legend” that has had a negative impact on Native communities. The report – Twice Invisible: Understanding Rural Native America – challenges the commonly held belief that the majority of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in cities and urban areas. The Twice Invisible report looks closely at Census data and uses a definition of “rural” areas developed by the Housing Assistance Council that is calculated with a formula that takes into account population and housing density. Using this definition, First Nations’ researchers found that 54% of American Indian and Alaska Native people, or a majority, live in rural and small-town areas on or near reservations, contrary to common myths. The report was authored by Dewees and Benjamin Marks, First Nations’ Senior Research Officer, and was made possible by support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Catalyzing Community Giving initiative. The full report can be downloaded from the Knowledge Center on the First Nations website here


9.      SNAP participation more closely linked to poverty than unemployment rate

USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the Nation’s largest food assistance program. In an average month in fiscal 2016, 44.2 million people—about 14 percent of the Nation’s population—participated in the program. Unlike other food and nutrition assistance programs that target specific groups, SNAP is available to most needy households with limited income and assets, subject to certain work and immigration status requirements. As a means-tested program, the number of people eligible for SNAP is inherently linked to the health of the economy. The share of the population receiving SNAP benefits generally tracks the poverty rate and, to lesser degrees, the unemployment rate and the poverty rate for children under age 18. Improvement in economic conditions during the early stage of recovery may take longer to be felt by lower educated, lower wage workers who are more likely to receive SNAP benefits, resulting in a lagged response of SNAP participation to a reduction in the unemployment rate.



1.      First Nations Ag Business Webinars

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is offering a FREE three-part First Nations Knowledge webinar series that will help you manage and grow your agricultural business. These are perfect for existing Native farmers, ranchers and food producers, and will be especially helpful for entrepreneurs looking to launch an agriculture-related business. You do not need to attend all of the webinars in the series even though they build off of each other over the three-week period. However, we believe it would greatly benefit participants to tune into the complete series in chronological order. If that's not possible, the webinar recordings and materials will be posted soon after each one is completed under the "Previous Webinars" tab on the webpage. The first webinar in the series has been completed, but please register for each of the remaining webinars individually at the links below.


Ø  Webinar 1: (Completed) Understanding the Local Food System & Defining Your Ag-Business Opportunity | Held on Wednesday, May 17, 2017

This webinar provided an overview of the current status of the U.S. food system and explained how this impacts your tribal agricultural business opportunity. It reviewed case-study examples of tribally-controlled agricultural and local food enterprises. It also helped guide entrepreneurs through a process of exploring their personal motivation behind the ag-business concept and helped entrepreneurs’ define their personal and business goals. All of these facets will be combined to help the entrepreneur clearly develop a draft ag-business concept.


Ø  Webinar 2: Understanding Your Market & Developing a Marketing Plan | Wednesday, May 24, 2017 2 p.m. Mountain Time (1 p.m. Pacific / 3 p.m. Central / 4 p.m. Eastern)

This webinar will build on Webinar 1 to help ag entrepreneurs understand the opportunities, as well as potential limitations, of their location and local foods market. We will also explore key concepts related to sales and marketing, including understanding local needs, defining your products and services, and selecting your distribution channels. All of these topics will be combined to help the entrepreneur develop a clear and focused marketing plan.


Ø  Webinar 3: Defining Your Key Business Operations & Developing a Financial Plan | Wednesday, May 31, 2017 2 p.m. Mountain Time (1 p.m. Pacific / 3 p.m. Central / 4 p.m. Eastern)

This webinar will build on the lessons learned in Webinars 1 & 2 to help ag entrepreneurs explore their risks and develop a plan for operational and staffing needs. We will also explore key financial principles and concepts such as investment requirements, pricing strategies, and operating expenses that are all directly related to profitability. We will also look toward the future to explore potential exit strategies. All of these topics will be combined to help the ag entrepreneur develop a clear and focused plan for operational and financial management.


2.      Kresge Water-Systems Initiative to Invest in Sustainable Solutions

Kresge is bringing together staff from the Environment Program, Investments team, and Social Investment Practice to consider how they can use the full range of capital tools to advance a water-equity agenda that reflects the needs and priorities of low-income communities and supports solutions to address the climate-related impacts on water systems.


3.      Stanford Researchers Create "Living Map" of Water Financing Ideas

A team of researchers at Stanford has created a "Living Map" of innovative ways to finance water projects in the United States that they hope will help regions finance water infrastructure upgrades.


Our next GoodGreens meeting is on Thursday, May 25th, from 10:00 to 12:00 PM Central Time in FNS’ offices on the 20th floor at 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, or via call-in (to listen) and Live Meeting (to see presentations). Please see below for a final meeting agenda, instructions on how to attend, information about June's meeting (which will focus on soil health), grants & funding, resources, news, events, and other opportunities. 

If you’re attending in person, please be aware that we are in a federal building and you’ll need to pass through security. After passing through security, head to the third bank of elevators on the left and proceed to the 20th floor. Once you arrive on the 20th floor, look for GoodGreens signs.

If you have any questions, please email Alan Shannon or call 312-353-1044. We look forward to hearing from our speakers and talking with many of you! 


4.      More Events/Opportunities


May 25th Meeting Agenda and Attendance Options

10:00 - 12:00 PM Central Time

Welcome and Introductions


Alison Alkon, Associate Professor of Sociology and Food Studies, University of The Pacific, will share information about research related to farmers markets, CSAs, and food systems that serve and are owned by their communities. Alison will also share information about the necessity of economic policies—and not simply a dependence on market mechanisms—that determine a community’s food sovereignty.


Nick Groch, Clinical Nutrition Manager, Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (Chicago), will share information about the hospital’s nutrition and agriculture initiatives, which include a twice monthly farmers market, to improve access to healthy produce for the organization’s low-income community patients.


Brenda Scott Henry, Director of Green Urbanism, and Mary Mulligan, Brownfields/Urban Conservation Specialist, City of Gary (IN), will share information about their work to support community efforts related to urban agriculture. Some of these efforts include the Stewart House Urban Farms & Gardens, farm and food projects in the Emerson neighborhood and area churches, and the Vacant to Vibrant initiative, which aims to install rain gardens as a way to manage stormwater in vacant, abandoned lots. Much of Gary is classified by USDA as a food desert.


Shermain Hardesty, Cooperative Extension Specialist and Lecturer, University of California Davis Agricultural and Resource Economics, will share information about her team’s recent study on the local economic benefits of direct marketing (e.g.: farmers markets, roadside farm stands, community-supported agriculture programs). Sacramento-area farmers and ranchers who engage in direct marketing generated twice as much regional economic impact per dollar of output, compared to area food producers who did not market directly.


Rachel Armstrong, Founder & Executive Director, Farm Commons (MN), will share information about her organization’s work to empower direct-to-consumer farmers with the proactive legal attention they need to build resilient farm businesses. Recently, Farm Commons received a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program Grant. As part of the grant project, the organization will host “Direct-to-Consumer Farm Law” workshops, distribute legal Quick Guides, and help educate over 7,000 farmers about how the law affects agritourism, CSA operations, farmers market sales, food safety, and other direct-to-consumer topics.


Sharing by member organizations of recent news/developments (All).


Attending Remotely 

For those participating remotely, call-in and Live Meeting/Webinar information is below. 

Call-in information is the same for both.

Call-in Information:

  • Number: 1-888-844-9904 
  • Access Code: 7734875            

Live Meeting/Webinar Information:

  • First Time Users: To save time before the meeting, check your system to make sure it is ready to use Microsoft Office Live Meeting
  • Download and install the Microsoft Live Meeting Client here
  • Click Join the meeting
  • Launch.rtc should download. Click it. Live Meeting Client should start.
  • If prompted for Meeting ID and Entry Code, they are: 
    Meeting ID: GGMay No Entry Code

If you still cannot enter the meeting, contact support

Notice: Microsoft Office Live Meeting can be used to record meetings. By participating in this meeting, you agree that your communications may be monitored or recorded at any time during the meeting.



News, Resources, Grants and More... 

(click on the links below to see more)

Upcoming Meeting Agendas

Resources, Tools, & Technical Assistance

Data, Statistics, & Reports

Food Waste


Employment Opportunities


For more community economic development related content please subscribe to the following:

Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development

Cooperative Reports, Publications, and Statistics

Rural Cooperative Magazine

Placed Based Initiatives & Regional Programs

Community Economic Development


Newsletters and email from which we gather this information include:

Foundation Center RFP Service

v Health Listserv

v Center for Rural Entrepreneurship

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Blue Avocado Nonprofit Magazine

Rural LISC e-newsletter

National Association for Development Organizations (NADO)


Orton Family Foundation





Associate Professor and Community Development Specialist

Department of Agricultural Economics

Oklahoma State University

323 Agricultural Hall

Stillwater, OK 74078-6025


405-744-8210 – fax

Find grants and professional development resources on my blog


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