Relief in work for “food deserts”, food insecurity in NJ
NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority seeks to better understand the food security challenges facing communities in Garden State.
They include specific barriers and disparities within communities that are considered “food deserts”. Responses to the RFI are due no later than 5 p.m. on April 12. RFI can be found online.
The NJEDA published the RFI in collaboration with the office of Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Departments of Community Affairs (NJDCA) and Agriculture (NJDA), to gather information and ideas regarding the implementation of the Food Desert Relief Act, which is part of the NJ Economic Recovery. 2020 law that Governor Murphy enacted in January 2021.
“While COVID hasn’t created the problem of food insecurity or lack of access to healthy food, it has dramatically exacerbated it,” Murphy said. “As we work towards an economic recovery from the pandemic in an equitable manner, it is essential that we make the elimination of food deserts a top priority. The support that NJEDA provides through the Food Desert Relief Act will play a role. central role in achieving this goal, and the RFI announced today is an important step in that process. “
The Food Desert Relief Act directs the NJEDA to meet the food security needs of New Jersey communities by providing up to $ 40 million per year for six years in the form of tax credits, loans, grants and / or technical assistance to increase access to nutritious foods and develop new approaches to alleviate food deserts. The information gathered from this RFI will help inform the creation of a New Jersey-specific definition of food deserts and offer potential solutions to increase the accessibility and affordability of safe and nutritious food for all residents of NJ.
- municipalities and school districts;
- anti-hunger organizations (for example, food banks);
- food retailers,
- processors and suppliers;
- rights organizations;
- social service providers;
- supermarket developers and operators;
- community workers;
- political and academic researchers;
- technical assistance providers;
- agricultural organizations and agricultural markets;
- developers of innovative programs to fight hunger and nutrition;
- foundations and philanthropic initiatives that fight against hunger and food insecurity
In 2018, an estimated 775,000 New Jersey residents reported difficulty putting food on their tables at some time of the year. That number is now expected to rise by more than 60 percent, to a total of more than 1.2 million New Jersey residents (13 percent of all residents) facing food insecurity. According to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, about 365,000 New Jersey children – about one in five children – will experience food insecurity this year, a 75 percent increase. Additionally, a 2018 analysis conducted by the Reinvestment Fund found that nearly 880,000 New Jersey residents had limited access to a supermarket or grocery store.
“Under Governor Murphy’s leadership and using funds provided by the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act, we are taking a whole-of-government approach to finding new and creative ways to address and eliminate food insecurity,” said Tim Sullivan, director general of NJEDA. “Through this RFI, we plan to leverage one of New Jersey’s greatest assets – its people – and harness their intelligence to help us deliver to over a million insecure people access to healthy food options in their neighborhoods. “
In addition to researching information to better understand the short- and long-term food accessibility challenges facing New Jersey communities, this RFI also invites ideas for potential initiatives to increase accessibility and affordability of food. healthy foods and considerations for NJEDA and its partner agencies. in the definition of the state’s food desert communities.
All responses to the RFI must be submitted in writing no later than 11:59 p.m. April 12, by email to: [email protected] The subject line of the email should read: “RFI Response-2021-RFI-OET-COVID19-FoodDesert-125”.
The NJEDA is currently seeking comments on the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act, including the Food Desert Relief Act. Anyone wishing to provide feedback on the implementation of all of the tax incentive, funding and grant programs that will be created under the Act should visit the website. https://www.njeda.com/economicrecoveryact/.
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