CSX and The Conservation Fund have announced a program of grants aimed at improving transportation and distribution of fresh, healthy food to communities in need.
More than 23 million Americans have limited or no access to fresh produce, dairy, meats, and seafood. One contributor to these so-called “food deserts” is the lack of infrastructure to distribute fresh food to markets.
To support local distribution, CSX and The Conservation Fund, a national non-profit dedicated to finding solutions that balance environmental and economic needs, teamed up to create a program that will help farmers and distributors enhance delivery capabilities.
Grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 will be made available to entities that distribute fresh produce/perishable food in the 23 states where CSX operates. The grants can support a range of activities related to transportation such as:
•Acquiring refrigerated vehicles for direct delivery to markets.
•Financing “veggie vans” to bring fresh food to isolated communities.
•Providing better access to food hubs or other sites where produce, dairy, seafood, and meats can be stored safely for distribution.
•Purchasing produce boxes and cold storage bins to keep unsold food fresh for the next day’s farmers market or wholesale purchase.
Grant applications are due by October 1, 2014. To download a grant application and see more information about the program, access www.conservationfund.org/partner-with-us/corporate-partners/profiles/csx/ or contact Margarita Carey at mcarey@conservationfund.org.
CSX is also working with The Conservation Fund on a program that is improving access to healthy food in five underserved counties in West Virginia—Calhoun, McDowell, Mingo, Roane, and Wirt.
CSX has long been a supporter of The Conservation Fund’s work. CSX has helped restore critical habitat 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 that teaches kids about the environment, math, science and economics through real-world freight transportation scenarios.
Jacksonville FL-based CSX provides rail, intermodal, and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, and it links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river, and lake ports with major population centers and small farming towns.
Access www.conservationfund.org for more details.