Many communities and neighborhoods have limited or no access to fresh produce, dairy, meats and seafood.  One of the contributing factors to these "food deserts" is the lack of infrastructure to distribute fresh food to markets — be it a farmer or fisherman delivering food to a weekly market, distributor, or grocery store; mobile market trucks that meet people in their own community; or organizations able to store fresh food overnight for markets in the morning.

The 2017 Grant Program for Transporting Healthy Food provides grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 to help alleviate the transportation and related operation gaps that organizations face in distributing fresh food to markets in vulnerable and underserved populations. 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; or
  • Purchasing produce boxes and cold storage bins to keep unsold food fresh for the next day’s farmers market or wholesale purchase.

Applicant Eligibility 

To qualify for these grants, eligible applicants must be:

  • Located in one of the states served by CSX rail (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 CSX system map is available online at http://www.csx.com/index.cfm/customers/maps/csx-system-map/

  • governmental agency – local, state, or federal government OR a non-profit organization that is tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code

  • local foods distributor that supplies or delivers fresh produce and/or perishable foods such as meat, dairy and seafood 

Note: Previous grant awardees are eligible to apply.  

If you have any question regarding grant eligibility, please contact Margarita Carey (304-876-7924 | mcarey@conservationfund.org).


Download the 2017 Grant Information and Application (Pdf) 
Download the 2017 Transporting Healthy Food Grant Application (Word)
Download the 2017 Transporting Healthy Food Grant Budget Template   (Excel)

Program Highlights

This grant program has already made tremendous impacts by improving the availability of healthy food across CSX’s service area. Since the program began in 2014, more than $300,000 has been awarded through 33 grants, enabling recipients to serve an additional 90,000 families with more than 33 million pounds of food.

click on an image above to see our Program Highlights gallery

2016 Awardees

ACCESS West Virginia, Wayne County, West Virginia
The Appalachian Coalition for Cultural Preservation, Ecotourism & Sustainable Food Systems of Southern West Virginia (ACCESS) advocates for the health and wellness of West Virginia by promoting physical activity, local food access, and cultural preservation. The grant funds will be used to purchase a delivery truck to facilitate transportation of local fruits and vegetables produced by the Wayne County Farmers Co-Op to food deserts in West Virginia.

Adirondack North Country Association, New York
The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) is an independent non-profit organization working to build dynamic local economies that sustain thriving communities in Northern New York. The grant funds will be used to purchase equipment and supplies necessary to construct a solar-powered refrigerated truck, which will transport food safely and efficiently by the Hub on the Hill and independent farms and producers.

Community Farmers Markets, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia
Community Farmers Markets, Inc. (CFM) envisions a future in which Atlanta will be home to a diverse, interconnected food system that promotes healthy food, sustainable ecosystems and living wage working conditions. CFM is a leader in this system, leveraging the power of communities by providing resources, educational programs and sustainable modes of food distribution for farmers, producers, chefs and consumers. The grant funds will be used to purchase large cooler display cases, produce signs, and reusable produce bags to more efficiently store, transport and market food. 

The Executive Center for Economic & Educational Development, Inc., Greenville, North Carolina
The Executive Center for Economic & Educational Development, Inc. (EXCEED) works to improve the economic conditions of low-income populations in economically-distressed neighborhoods and communities in Greenville and Pitt Counties. The grant funds will be used to purchase a van body truck for the EXCEED (Access Connect) Mobile Farmers Market.

Gardening the Community, Springfield, Massachusetts 
Gardening the Community is a food justice organization engaged in youth development, urban agriculture and sustainable living to build healthy and equitable communities. With the grant funding, Gardening the Community will construct a cold storage unit built from a refurbished shipping container to store locally grown produce at their new urban farm site.

Gather Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland
Gather Baltimore is a volunteer-based program which collects surplus produce and more from a variety of sources, including the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar in downtown Baltimore for redistribution to the city’s under-served citizens. Gather Baltimore ensures that this unsold food does not become waste but instead is made available to financially challenged families in communities where fresh healthy food is not readily accessible. Gather Baltimore will use the grant funds to construct supplemental on-site cold storage facilities to store surplus produce prior to redistribution. 

Hidden Harvest, Saginaw, Michigan 
Hidden Harvest has provided a safe and coordinated system of rescuing and redistributing over 28 million pounds of surplus food since 1994.  It provides safe food handling supplies to food donors, who then generously donate nutritious food that would have otherwise been wasted. With the grant funds, Hidden Harvest will purchase food handling supplies that will make it possible to transport 2.6 million pounds of food in 2017 to agencies that serve community members in need.

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, Tampa, Florida
Since 1989, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful has provided bay-area residents of all ages with opportunities for meaningful service. Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful is the local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s largest volunteer-based community, and focuses on conservation, waste reduction and beautification. Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful will use the grant funds to purchase a small refrigerated trailer to transport produce to underserved residents.

Local Food Hub, Charlottesville, Virginia
Local Food Hub’s mission is to partner with Virginia farmers to increase community access to local food. It provides the support services, infrastructure and market opportunities that connect people with food grown close to home. Grant funds will be used to install additional cold storage at the Local Food Hub warehouse. 

Sustainable Berea, Berea, Kentucky
Sustainable Berea, a grassroots membership organization, promotes projects and programs to educate and move people to action to create more resilient households, neighborhoods, and community. With the grant funds, Sustainable Berea will construct a 30’x16’ packing shed where fresh produce can be sorted, washed and boxed in accordance with health codes. It will also be an educational facility for food safety training. This is the second time Sustainable Berea has received a Transporting Healthy Food Grant.

Top Box Foods, New Orleans, Louisiana
Top Box Foods is a non-profit organization with a simple purpose: to offer fresh, healthy, high-quality foods at affordable prices, particularly to folks living in areas with limited access to nutritious eating options. The grant funds will be used to purchase a refrigerated truck to expand their geographical reach, increase food delivery and the number of families served.

Previous Awardees

Gardening the Community (Springfield, Massachusetts) constructed a cold storage unit built from a refurbished shipping container to store locally grown produce at their new urban farm site. 

“Our ability to be a powerful option for healthy affordable food for the residents in Springfield and for our youth leaders to expand their understanding of food distribution for many years to come will all be traced back to this amazing opportunity you have provided. We are very thankful and honored to have this gift.”    
 Ibrahim Ali, Co-Director, Gardening the Community

Alderson Community Food Hub (Alderson, West Virginia) purchased and installed a walk-in refrigerated container for aggregation and storage of fresh produce, for delivery to local schools and to serve its growing mobile market program.

"We are so pleased to receive this grant as part of our ongoing efforts to grow community food security and a healthy local food economy here in the Greenbrier Valley. Being able to install a walk-in refrigerated container will greatly expand our capacity to store and distribute produce through our growing farm-to-school partnership with the Office of Child Nutrition, our mobile market program to area senior centers and low-income housing, our Green Grocer, and our local food pantry in Alderson."
Kevin Johnson, President, Board of Directors, Alderson Community Food Hub

Town of Thomaston (Thomaston, Alabama) purchased a cold storage bin/produce box for Dave’s Market, which opened a grocery store in the town in February 2016. With the new equipment the market is able to provide fresh meats and produce to the citizens in and around Thomaston.

"Thomaston has been a food desert for decades, and the grant is assisting the endeavors here that will eliminate this. It is truly a new day in Thomaston and the citizens are so incredibly thankful to everyone who has participated in this project to make it possible."
Brenda Tuck, Executive Director, Marengo County Economic Development Authority

Learn More

Press Release Announcing 2016 Grant Recipients
Press Release Announcing 2015 Grant Recipients
Press Release Announcing 2014 Grant Recipients
The Conservation Fund's Partnership with CSX