According to the United States Department of Agriculture more than 23 million Americans have limited or no access to fresh and healthy food. Many producers and retailers lack the resources and equipment needed to sustain food quality and safety as they sell, store, package and distribute fresh produce and other food to the surrounding communities they serve.
Now in its second year, the Grant Program for Transporting Healthy Food is designed to support and strengthen local transportation and distribution infrastructure for healthy food to communities in need. The program enhances delivery capabilities of producers and distributors and improves the availability of healthy food for nearby consumers. In 2014, the recipient organizations used the grants to purchase refrigeration and delivery trucks, acquire portable food chests and expand local food supply and capacity to provide nearly 118 million pounds of nutritious food to approximately six million people annually.
In 2015, grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 will be made available to charitable entities that distribute fresh produce and perishable food in 22 states where CSX operates—Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
The grants can support a range of activities related to transportation, including:
- acquiring refrigerated vehicles for direct delivery to markets, food hubs or distribution center;
- financing mobile market trucks and food stands to bring fresh food to isolated communities;
- improving on-site and mobile processing and storage—flash, freezing, drying or refrigeration—of meats and seafood needed for distribution; and
- purchasing produce boxes and cold storage bins to keep unsold food fresh for the next day's farmers market or wholesale purchase.
As one of the nation's premier transportation companies, with an important role in transporting agricultural, food and food-service products, CSX recognized the integral role that distribution plays in supporting access to fresh food.
"CSX aims to make an impact Beyond Our Rails—and one of our largest focus areas is creating access to healthy lifestyles, including food, in the communities where we operate and live," said Tori Kaplan, assistant vice president, corporate social responsibility. "It's our job to make connections across our 21,000 mile rail network every day, and we're proud to continue working with The Conservation Fund to support local connections between communities and healthy, fresh food."
"Local and regional food organizations are unsung heroes working tirelessly to make healthy, fresh food a convenient, practical and affordable option for everyone, particularly children and other vulnerable populations, and they deserve recognition and support for the important role they play in their communities," said Kris Hoellen, Vice President of Sustainable Programs at the Conservation Fund. "With CSX's partnership, we're not only helping these groups expand their food network, but we're also supporting our local farmers and working farms—improving the entire food chain from the field to the fork."
Grant applications are due by September 18, 2015. To download a grant application and see more information about the program, please visit http://www.conservationfund.org/partner-with-us/business/csx or contact Margarita Carey at [email protected].
CSX has long been a supporter of The Conservation Fund's work. CSX has helped restore critical habitats at two national wildlife refuges through the donation of more than 13,000 trees and is helping reconnect children and nature with the creation of a school curriculum unit. CSX is also entering into its second year of working with The Conservation Fund on an ongoing program that is improving access to and the supply of healthy food at local farmers markets in underserved counties in West Virginia.
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For nearly 190 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation's economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation's population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (http://facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/CSX).
About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we believe that conservation should work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are re-defining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land. www.conservationfund.org
SOURCE CSX Corporation