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USDA and other organizations provide a number of funding opportunities for projects and research on reducing food loss and waste.
Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
The USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP) offers funding under the Composting and Food Waste Reduction cooperative agreements. In 2022, $10.2 million will be awarded to fund pilot projects that develop and implement strategies for food waste reduction and compost plans. OUAIP solicited applications from local governments, school districts, and Native American tribes. Priority is given to projects that include food waste reduction strategies, incorporate a plan to make compost easily accessible to agricultural producers, anticipate or demonstrate economic benefits, and involves multiple partners.
Agricultural Marketing Service
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service offers funding opportunities that support a variety of agricultural activities, including the specialty crop industry and local and regional food system expansion. Grants may be used for projects that reduce waste through increased market efficiency, better storage, and improved transportation. Learn more about these grant lines including the Farmers Market Promotion Program and Local Food Promotion Program, and the Specialty Crop Multi-State Program. AMS compiles and provides a webpage with information on ‘Grants, Loans, and Other Support” from several USDA agencies.
Funding for Food Waste Reduction Projects (PDF, 5.5 MB): This guide highlights various loan and grant programs by RD mission area that could incorporate funding, investment, and outreach initiatives for food loss and waste reduction, reuse and composting techniques. The Funding for Food Waste Reduction Projects (PDF, 1.3 MB) is also available in Spanish.
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) supports agricultural research, education, and extension programs that help solve societal challenges. NIFA invests in research projects with a food loss and waste focus and funds the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive grants program.
Food and Nutrition Service
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) offers Farm to School Grants support planning, developing, and implementing farm to school programs. Farm to school programs increase the availability of local foods in child nutrition programs and promote activities such as gardening, farm visits, and culinary classes, and can encourage the integration of food related education into curriculum. These programs not only improve children’s health and nutrition but can also reduce plate waste.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers programs and funding to help businesses and institutions address inefficiencies and environmental impacts across the food system, from agricultural production to processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management. Among these resources, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. EPA is one of 11 federal agencies (including USDA) that participate in SBIR to help develop innovative technologies that protect human health and the environment, including projects that address preventing food waste.
ReFED is an organization that collaborates with USDA, EPA, and FDA on the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative. ReFED offers a new funding opportunity to train and fund nonprofits so they can develop new food recovery solutions. Learn more about the ReFED Nonprofit Food Recovery Accelerator.
Search for Open Grant Opportunities
Search for current grant opportunities, find grant writing tips, and apply for grants online through grants.gov.
Dr. Jean Buzby
USDA Food Loss and Waste Liaison