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UNFI Foundation Announces $1M Grant Funding For Food Equity

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Providence, Rhode Island-based United Natural Foods Inc. has awarded more than $1 million in grant funding to improve food systems in 40 communities across the U.S. and Canada. Food access is a key pillar of the UNFI Better for All initiative.

The UNFI Foundation’s grant funding is awarded to non-profit organizations that align with the foundation’s three primary focus areas: increasing the supply of organic food; improving access to healthy food for vulnerable populations; and advancing childhood nutrition education.

“At UNFI, we know our work isn’t done once a product leaves our distribution center. That’s why we are thrilled to support this year’s grantees, which are pursuing a wide range of innovative and impactful ideas to support food equity and access in their local communities across more than 20 U.S. states and into Canada,” said Alisha Real, executive director of the UNFI Foundation.

“We know that food access is one area where UNFI can affect the greatest change and we are proud to support organizations that share our goal of providing affordable and nutritious food to all.”

Earlier this year, the UNFI Foundation established the Food Equity Project Grant, which awards $100,000 to accelerate the efforts of a Rhode Island-based organization focused on creating equitable access to healthy food. Southside Community Land Trust was selected as the recipient of the grant for the organization’s advanced work increasing food access in Providence and surrounding communities.

Along with monetary support, UNFI will provide SCLT with its guidance and expertise, assisting in areas such as logistics and operations to efficiently further SCLT’s mission to provide access to land, education and other resources. This allows people in Rhode Island to grow food in environmentally sustainable ways and create community food systems where locally produced, affordable and healthy food is available to all.

“When people own their own farms, distribution systems and retail spaces, they make sure their communities get fed,” said Margaret DeVos, executive director of SCLT.

“This grant from the UNFI Foundation promotes local ownership of the food system in Rhode Island communities where fresh, healthy and affordable food is hard to find. The insight and thoughtfulness of UNFI’s approach – to support existing organizations and individuals – is an example for all of us.”

In 2021, nonprofits supported by the UNFI Foundation created more than 6,000 acres of organic farmland and fostered 2,000 new organic farmers, delivered $7 million worth of fresh food to at-risk community members, created 31 school gardens and taught more than 200,000 kids at 767 schools about healthy eating.

A complete list of the 44 non-profit organizations the UNFI Foundation has awarded grants to this year can be found here.

Applications for UNFI Foundation grants next open in March 2023.

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