Request for Applications


Improving Access,  Education, and  Equity in Louisville’s  Food System Call for Applications


The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW) recently accepted applications from organizations to improve access, education, and equity in Louisville’s food system. A total of up to $500,000 is available which will be awarded to multiple organizations, with award amounts varying depending on the pool of proposals submitted. Applications that are selected will be awarded grant funding according to their proposed budget within their application. The deadline to apply for this grant closed June 5, 2022. 

LMPHW’s Center for Health Equity (CHE) has identified the food system as a significant root cause of health in its 2017 Health Equity Report. Access to nutritious foods can determine health outcomes such as diabetes, heart disease, and oral health. However, access to food and the financial benefits from the production, processing, and distribution are inequitably concentrated among White and wealthy residents with the physical burden of production of food being concentrated among Black and other communities of color. These inequities, such as geographic dispersion of full-service grocery stores or low-wage/high risk jobs being predominantly filled by Black and immigrant residents, have contributed to long-term impacts in communities that experience shorter average life expectancies.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these inequities. Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, many of our communities witnessed empty food shelves, long lines at food banks, and an increased reliance on community-based organizations to fulfill basic food needs. The stress COVID-19 created on our food system further highlights the fundamental underlying gaps and the need for a variety of solutions to strengthen our food system. With this call for applications, LMPHW is seeking organizations who understand the current and future needs of our community and who are working to eliminate inequities found throughout the food system. 

►Download a copy of this Request For Applications




In 2021, LMPHW received a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) grant focused on reducing health disparities experienced in the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this grant, LMPHW is allocating $500,000 to address inequities in Louisville’s food system and food insecurity. LMPHW’s goal for granting funds for this project is to increase food security and sovereignty by strengthening the food system through food access, food education, and equitable opportunities within production and distribution.  

Food security is achieved, according to the United Nations, “when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.” While food security is an essential component of this work, we are seeking solutions that not only provide greater access, but also increase collective community power in how food is resourced and distributed at a local level.  

All proposals should include intentional plans to address inequities within our local food system. Ideal proposals will include solutions that address one or more of the following:  

  • growing/production,  
  • processing,  
  • distribution, and/or  
  • consumption.  

For example, projects could include (but are not limited to) solutions that combine increased access to affordable fresh food, improve consumer knowledge and skills, and improve equity for communities of color to benefit from supply, processing, and/or transportation of food.  


Eligibility Criteria  

  • Organizations must focus their work in Jefferson County. Organizations or food production may be located outside of the county boundaries, but the project should directly impact residents of Louisville, especially those experiencing inequities within the food system. 

  • Awardees should either be an established non-profit organization or have a fiscal sponsor  

  • Strong preference for organizations led by individuals from groups who experience inequities in health outcomes or in their experience with the food system  

  • Proposal budgets cannot include the purchase of land or equipment over $4,999 (details can be found in the FAQ). 

  • Applications must be postmarked or submitted online by June 5, 2022. 

  • Once awarded, all projects need to be completed by June 2023.  


Proposal components 

Your proposal must include the following elements


Description of organization: 
  • Organization name and point of contact 

  • Type of organization (501(c)(3), LLC, etc) 

  • Organization’s Value Statement/Mission 

  • Description of organization’s recent work in improving the food system 

  • Brief explanation of the organization’s relationship to Louisville  

Please provide narratives that include answers to each of the questions below: 
  • Which part of the food system does your proposal target and how will your work contribute to improving equity in Louisville’s local food system? (250 word max) 

  • What does the ideal food system look like to your organization? (250 word max) 

  • In what ways does your project fully fill a gap in the current food system? (500 word max) 

  • What long-term impacts does your project attempt to accomplish? (500 word max) 

  • How will the local community be involved and benefit from the project? Please list specific strategies and/or groups you will partner with. (500 word max) 

  • What support do you need from the Center for Health Equity to be successful? Would any technical assistance be needed? (250 word max) 

  • Proposal timeline 

  • Budget Overview 


Application Process and deadline  

  • Applications must have been submitted online by June 5, 2022. 

  • If you have additional questions




  • What do we mean by food access? 
    • By food access, we mean the ability for all residents to have equitable opportunity to locate food within their immediate communities that is affordable and nutritious. This includes the proximity, diversity in availability, and affordability of high-quality fresh food. 
  • What do we mean by food equity? 
    • By equitable food system, we mean a system that creates an environment which allows and encourages those currently facing health inequities to fully participate and benefit from the local food system. An equitable food system centers community-led efforts within all components of the system, from producing to consuming, and promotes economic opportunity with safe working conditions for those who work in the system.  An equitable food system includes adequate access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food for consumers. Finally, an equitable food system includes environmental sustainability and prioritizes human health within all stages of the system. 
  • What is the difference between food security and food sovereignty? 
    • Food security means that individuals have a sufficient and consistent supply of fresh, high-quality foods that promote their overall health and well-being. According to the Declaration of Nyéléni from the first global forum on food sovereignty, “food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”  Not only is it important to have enough food, but it is also important to have a right to food, which is realized through the participatory role of individuals within communities.  
  • What parts of the food system can a proposal target? 
    • As long as the application meets eligibility requirements and fulfills the proposal components, all ideas and projects are welcome. 
  • Is staffing an allowable expense for this grant work?
    • Yes. For example, if an organization is trying to hire a part time person to assist with a project they can apply for funding to cover that cost.
    • Note: Due to funding restrictions from the federal government (e.g. restrictions on direct purchasing of food), it might be helpful for an organization to apply for funds to offset personnel costs so that the organization can direct more of their own funds toward those types of program expenses.
  • What type of technical assistance would the Center for Health Equity be able to provide?
    • Depending on the type of proposal, staff would be available to assist selected applicants with data, policy work, planning and documenting, coordinating with strategic partners, community engagement, and problem solving if any issues come up.
  • What will be the reporting requirements if your proposal is awarded funding?
    • We will have a staff person who will be coordinating with those who are awarded around the CDC reporting requirements. 
  • Is this grant related to the community grocery store? 
    • While all of these initiatives help support Louisville’s food system, this funding is separate. The grocery store is a mandate from Louisville Metro Council. This funding comes from the Center for Health Equity’s decision to allocate a portion of our grant from the Centers for Disease Control to help address the gaps in our food system. 
  • Are there any restrictions on what can be budgeted for in a proposal? 
    • Restrictions under grant guidelines include: 




Lobbying efforts 


Direct food purchases 


Food producing items such as fruit trees and seeds


Land purchases 

Land leasing 

Equipment purchases $5,000 or more per item 

Equipment purchases $4,999 or less per item 





Selection Criteria  

Evaluation categories  

  1. Equitable Alignment (50 pts) 

  • Does the organization’s proposal align with food equity and access goals outlined in the objective? Are residents who are disproportionately affected by inequities in the food system prioritized in the proposal? Do the project’s goals consider long-term impacts in affected communities? 

  1. Community Needs (30 pts) 

  • Does the proposal target populations within Jefferson County who are currently experiencing inequitable health outcomes and inequities within the food system? Are the community’s needs prioritized and addressed in a way that supports their ability to fully participate and benefit from the project? Does the applicant have a trusted reputation in the affected communities?  

  1. Organizational Capacity (20 pts) 

  • From an organizational perspective, how prepared and equipped is the applicant to meet their project goals? Do their past projects and food system work demonstrate their ability to successfully complete project in a way that positively impacts affected communities?   

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