Good Food Access Program (GFAP) Equipment and Physical Improvement Grant

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA)

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Grant amount: US $2,500 - US $50,000

Anticipated deadline: Jan 17, 2020 2:00pm PST

Applicant type: For-Profit Business Nonprofit Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: Minnesota

Location of residency: Minnesota

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Background and Program Goals

The Good Food Access Program (GFAP) was established to increase the availability of and access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, for underserved communities in low-income and moderate-income areas. These goals will be accomplished by providing financial and technical support and supporting sustainable public-private projects to open, renovate, or expand the operations of grocery stores and small food retailers; expanding access to credit and reducing barriers to investment in underserved communities in low- and moderate-income areas; and to provide technical assistance, primarily for small food retailers with demonstrated need. 

The goal of the GFAP Equipment and Physical Improvement Grant is to increase sales of affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods to underserved communities, thereby increasing consumption of such foods by residents in the identified communities. The MDA is providing competitive grants to stimulate the sales of such foods to consumers by assisting grocery stores and small food retailers in making physical improvements and purchasing equipment. 

The GFAP Advisory Committee advises the Commissioner of Agriculture on managing the program, establishing program criteria, establishing project eligibility guidelines, establishing application processes and additional selection criteria, establishing annual monitoring and accountability mechanisms, facilitating leverage of additional public and private investments, and promoting the program statewide. The MDA drafted this RFP in cooperation with the GFAP Advisory Committee. 

Eligible Grant Projects and Expenses

Eligible grant projects are the purchase and installation of equipment and the costs incurred to make physical improvements.

Up to 100% of the total project cost may be reimbursed with grant funds, with a maximum grant award of $50,000 and a minimum grant award of $2,500. Applicants may request up to 50% of the award as an advance; all other amounts will be reimbursed after the project is completed to the State’s satisfaction. 

To be eligible, the project needs to be used to increase the availability of and access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food, including fresh fruits and vegetables for underserved communities and in low- or moderate-income areas. 

Potential projects may include, but are not limited to, retail display coolers and freezers, storage coolers and freezers, shelving, mobile food trucks, permanent infrastructure at farmers markets, architectural work, and costs associated with the installation of equipment of physical improvements. Other ideas may be proposed.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligible Applicants:
    • For-profit and not-for-profit grocery stores and small food retailers engaged in the sale of nutritious and culturally appropriate foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, located in an underserved community or serving primarily underserved communities in low-income and moderate-income areas. 
    • Multi-site proposals are encouraged.
      • It is not imperative that a final list of sites be predetermined; however, all sites receiving benefit under this program must meet all requirements and be pre-approved by the MDA. 
    • Organizations may apply on behalf of and act as fiscal agents for other eligible applicants.
    • All applicants must be in good standing with the State of Minnesota (no back taxes owed, no defaults on Minnesota Statebacked financing for the last 7 years, acceptable performance on past MDA grants, and in compliance with current State regulations). 
    • Eligible organizations serving sovereign nations are eligible and encouraged to apply.
  • Retailers receiving equipment or making physical improvements under this RFP must agree with the following conditions for a period of at least five years:
    • Accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits;
    • Apply to accept Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits, and if approved accept WIC benefits;
    • Comply with all data collection and reporting requirements established by the commissioner;
    • Promote the hiring, training, and retention of local or regional residents from low-income and moderate-income areas that reflect area demographics, including communities of color; and
    • Except for small food retailers, as defined, allocate at least 30 percent of retail food space for the sale of affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods, including fruits and vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, fortified dairy substitute beverages such as soy-based or nut-based dairy substitute beverages, whole grain-rich staple foods, meats, poultry, fish, seafood, and other proteins, consistent with nutrition standards in national guidelines described in the current United States Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Eligible Locations:
    • Projects must be located in census tracts designated as Food Deserts or as low- or moderate-income.
    • Follow these steps to determine if your project is in an eligible area: Determine the location’s census tract by: 
      • Visiting the American FactFinder website
      • Select the blue “Geographies” rectangle on the left-hand side of the page.
      • Select the “Address” tab and enter your address after the Geographies box pops up. Press Go.
      • Under “Geography Name” your census tract number will be listed.
      • Open the Good Food Access Eligible Areas page. Use Control+F or the Find/Search function to search for your census tract number. If the census tract is on the page, your location is eligible based on its designation as a Food Desert or Low- or Moderate-Income area.
      • If you do not find your census tract number within the Eligible Areas, check the Ineligible Areas page to confirm that your location is not eligible for this program..


  • School districts that purchase processing equipment to increase purchasing of locally produced food are not eligible for a grant under this proposal. 
  • Food hubs and other organizations involved in alternative methods of distribution that are interested in purchasing equipment for the non-retail portion of their operation should not apply for such equipment under this grant. 
  • Individuals (farmers) or businesses, agricultural cooperatives, local government entities that are significantly focused on the processing of Minnesota agricultural commodities are encouraged to apply to AGRI Value Added Grant Program. 
  • GFAP Equipment and Physical Infrastructure grants cannot be used for typical food shelf operations. 
  • GFAP funding is not intended for restaurants. 
  • GFAP funds cannot be used for the growing/harvesting of fruit from trees and bushes.
  • A Meals on Wheels/home delivery prepared meal program does not meet the eligible applicant criteria. 
  • Ineligible Expenses
    • Operating costs.
    • Costs incurred prior to notification of award.
    • Training and workshop fees.
    • Advertising and public relations.
    • Bad debts - Including uncollectible accounts and other claims, related collection costs, and related legal costs.
    • Donated or volunteer (in-kind) services. While these may be furnished to an applicant by professional and technical personnel, consultants, and other skilled and unskilled labor, the value of these services is not reimbursable either as a direct or indirect cost.
    • Donations, in kind contributions, including property, and services, made by the applicant, regardless of the recipient.
    • Entertainment, amusement, diversion, and social activities and any costs directly associated with such costs (such as tickets to shows or sports events, meals, lodging, rentals, transportation, alcohol and gratuities).
    • Fines, penalties and other settlement expense resulting from violations (or alleged violations) of, or failure of the applicant to comply with, Federal, State, local, or Indian tribal laws and regulations.
    • Fundraising including financial campaigns, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred to raise capital or obtain contributions regardless of the purpose for which the funds will be used. 
    • Indirect costs (expenses of doing business that are not readily identified within the project, but are necessary for the general operation of the organization and the implementation of proposal related activities). 
    • Investment management costs, including costs of investment counsel and staff, and similar expenses incurred to enhance income from investments 
    • Land and building purchases.
    • Lobbying - including costs of membership in organizations substantially engaged in lobbying.
    • Political activities.