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GFAP Equipment and Physical Improvement Grant
> GFAP Equipment and Physical Improvement Grant Q&As
Questions and Answers
Good Food Access Program (GFAP) Equipment and Physical Improvement Grant
Can GFAP funds be used for a senior congregate feeding site?
No, the GFAP funding is not intended for congregate feeding sites regardless of whether the customer pays for their meal or not. These funds are intended for grocery stores and small food retailers as defined in on page 4 of the RFP.
Can GFAP funds be used for a food pantry/food shelf?
No, GFAP Equipment and Physical Infrastructure grants cannot be used for typical food shelf operations. These funds are intended to help retailers (i.e. sellers of unprepared foods) sell more affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods. However, if the food shelf also operates a retail outlet, that portion of the organization may be eligible for GFAP funding.
Can GFAP funds be used for a small restaurant?
No, the GFAP funding is not intended for restaurants. Funding is limited to retailers, such as grocery stores, corner stores, and farmers’ markets.
Can GFAP funds be used for pick-your-own farms?
GFAP funds cannot be used for the growing/harvesting of fruit from trees and bushes. However, many pick-your-own operations have facilities where customers come to pay for their fruit and buy pre-picked fruit and other items. GFAP funding may be used to purchase coolers, shelving, etc. that is needed for retail purposes. The retail operation would need to meet all eligible location criteria.
Can GFAP funding be used to support a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm?
GFAP funds cannot be used for the growing/harvesting of products. However, a CSA operation may need equipment such as coolers and refrigerated trucks in order to sell their shares and products. The CSA operation would need to justify how the equipment would be used to support retail sales in eligible locations.
Our store is located around several senior high rises. We currently accept SNAP/EBT and we are licensed a retail food handler. Do we need to also accept WIC to be eligible for the GFAP Equipment and Physical Infrastructure Grant?
Yes. The statute that governs the Good Food Access Program is clear that grant recipients must accept SNAP and must apply to accept WIC, and if approved, accept WIC benefits. While it’s not imperative that the applicant have already applied to accept WIC, the applicant will need to do so as a condition of receiving a GFAP Equipment and Physical Improvement Grant award.
We’re a farmers’ market. Can we buy land for the market?
No. Land and building purchases are listed as ineligible costs in the RFP. Although the land/building are ineligible, you might consider other infrastructure needs that would in the building on or land such as tables, sheds, coolers, etc.
We are a cooperative food store with sales in excess of $2 million. What type of entity are we considered in the GFAP?
The definitions of grocery store, small food retailer, etc don’t include sales requirements. However, the “grocery store” definition includes cooperative self-service retail establishments and recognizes stores that are doing a large volume. Pick the answer that you think best represents your organization.
What types of letters of support should we include?
It’s up to you to determine if you include letters of support and who those letters would be from. We provide a few suggestions such as community-based organizations that are active in the healthy eating arena, local producers/distributors, and financial institutions that may be backing your project. See page 13 of the RFP.
Is a match required?
A match is not required. We encourage you to think about the investments (monetary or non-monetary) that you can contribute to your proposal. For example, if you are looking to buy a cooler, you might think about if your organization can do the installation.
Is a Meals on Wheels/home delivery meal service program eligible for funding under this program?
A Meals on Wheels/home delivery prepared meal program does not meet the eligible applicant criteria. Eligible applicants are for-profit and not-for-profit grocery stores and small food retailers. The definition of “small food retailer” includes businesses and organizations such as corner stores, convenience stores, farmers’ markets, mobile food market, and retail food outlets operated by an emergency food program or food hub. These entities are primarily focused on the sales of unprepared foods rather than prepared meals.
Does a retailer need to participate in SNAP to be eligible for this grant? We have some convenience stores that serve the target audience but cannot participate in SNAP because of the minimum stocking requirements.
Proposals that involve retailers not currently accepting SNAP and/or WIC will be forwarded for review. Grant contracts may be awarded to these applicants, but the applicant will not receive reimbursement for project expenses until the retailer is authorized to accept SNAP and has applied to accept WIC. Please see page 4 of the RFP.
There’s a fillable PDF for the application, but some of the longer, narrative questions don’t have response fields. How do we submit those?
You can submit those questions as a separate Word/PDF document. However, if you have the ability to submit your application via our
online grants management system
, you should do it that way. This will ensure that a) you don’t miss a question or go over the character limit, and b) ensure that all the information is inputted as you intended. If you have to submit your proposal via email or snail mail, we’ll enter it into system, but if possible, you should do this as the applicant.
Our timeline is fairly tight. Some of our eligible costs may need to be incurred between application and possible award of funds; would that make those costs for grant funding ineligible?
You are correct that we can only pay for expenses incurred after you’ve been notified of award. We expect to notify successful applicants 6-8 weeks after the grant closes; the exact timeline will depend on the number of applications that are received. We do know that time is of the essence for these. In your budget, only include the projected expenses that will be eligible for this grant based on the timeline. In the Investment section, you might want to talk about those ineligible expenses to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to the project.
Can applicants upload supporting materials like pictures at some point in the application process?
Yes, we are able to accept supporting materials like pictures. We request that any supporting documentation sticks with the spirit of word counts. For example, it wouldn’t be appropriate to upload a 20 page business plan, but a few pictures is fine. You can use any of the upload boxes in the online application for this.
Is there any way to prove low-income, low-access communities are served by a store even if the store is located in an ineligible census tract?
It is up you to determine how to best demonstrate how a project serves a low-income, low-access community if the retailer is not located in an eligible census tract.
May "total project cost" include staffing costs covered by other funders (which we have secured) or must it include only the equipment purchases and physical improvements?
Total project costs must only include eligible expenses. For example, if you have a $100,000 project, you would receive up to $25,000 under this grant and the other $75,000 must also be equipment/physical improvements. Any operating costs would not be eligible to be counted towards that $75,000.
Can GFAP funding be used for vehicle leases or fuel?
GFAP Equipment and Physical Improvement Grant funding cannot be used for leases or fuel. We generally consider short term leases as operating costs, which are not covered by this opportunity. The only exception would be if it was a lease-to-own arrangement. The organization would need to have full ownership of the vehicle by the end of the contract, set as September 30, 2018 in the RFP. As for fuel, we always consider that to be an operating expense.
The applicant has some freezers in storage that were supposed to be installed, but they ran out of funds before they could be installed. Would equipment installation in this case be eligible, so they could be installed as planned? The existing freezers are old and not in good condition.
Yes, GFAP Equipment and Physical Improvement Grant funds may be used for installation costs. Page 3 of the RFP specifically cites installation as an eligible cost.
On the Expected Outcomes table, it anticipates sales of fruits and vegetables. One portion of our project includes sales, but the other includes access through the food shelf. How can we capture this? Should we use an estimated value of the produce that will be recovered and provided at the food shelf at no cost to clients?
The GFAP Equipment/Physical Improvement Grant focuses on increasing the sales of affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods through retailers. Complete the Outcomes Table to the best of your ability based on project sales figures.
Are there any limit on the number of the Letters of Support?
There is no character limit on the letters of support.
As this project involves a private for-profit, our partnership will have two MOUs. Would these be uploaded as Letters of Support? Would you need both Letters of Support from partner organizations in addition to the MOUs?
You are welcome to upload MOUs as letters of support to demonstrate commitment from the partner organizations. You might consider also having a letter of support from one of the organizations focused on their commitment to this specific project.
Will equipment that comprises a full-service kitchen in a grocery store in addition to coolers, salad bars, and warmers needed for display on the front-end be eligible for funds under this grant program?
The RFP doesn’t specifically preclude items that are necessary for ready-to-eat foods. However, the program is primarily focused on increasing the sales and accessibility of unprepared foods rather than prepared, and it doesn’t fund restaurants.
Would either of the two following scenarios be eligible for a grant?
A food distribution service that is not a grocery retailer, but a standalone service whose sole function is grocery delivery with a focus on fresh and healthy food, located in a food desert, and used as a means to address access by those with limited mobility and/or income or limited access to transportation.
Based on the information provided, it sounds like the grocery delivery service would be eligible. You would need to justify how the provider serves an eligible area.
A non-profit farmers’ market that would contract with the above mentioned service. Would the equipment purchased through the grant need to then be owned by the market, or could funds be given to the service provider for delivery equipment?
The non-profit farmers’ market could purchase the equipment on behalf of the grocery delivery service or the funds could be transferred to the service provider. We would like to see some type of agreement or memorandum of understanding between the two entities that outlines the relationship and the ownership of the equipment.
Will the review committee have access to last year’s unfunded proposal? Do we need to submit updated letters of support and/or pictures? We’re located in a small community and we had the best supporters write letters for us last year.
The review committee will not have access to your funded or unfunded proposals from last year. You’ll need to include all of the information in this year’s proposal that you want the committee to have access to. We recommend that you get new letters of support, even if they are from the same supporters and simply have the dates changed. Minor changes are fine. Reviewers tend to frown upon having letters of support with year old dates on them. Updated letters help demonstrate your commitment to the project.
Our project is physically located in a census tract that is neither a food desert nor another low- or moderate-income area. We serve residents in nearby census tracts that are eligible though. Are we eligible to apply?
You may apply for a GFAP grant. It is your responsibility to demonstrate how the project will serve residents of a food desert or individuals with limited access (such as the elderly or disabled) in a low- or moderate-income census tract.
We are a retailer that was operating in one location and accepting SNAP benefits. We are being required to move to a new location. Our store will not be open while this grant is accepting proposals. We will be accepting SNAP as soon as we re-open in a new location, likely in mid-2019. Are we eligible to apply?
Yes, you are eligible to apply. However, if you receive a grant, you will not be able to request reimbursement until the new location is SNAP authorized and has applied to accept WIC. Keep in mind that all eligible expenses must be incurred before September 30, 2019.
Our store is not located in an eligible area, but some of the surrounding areas (where our customers live) are eligible. Can we still apply for this grant?
Yes, you may apply for this grant. You will need to very clearly and compellingly explain how your project is going to serve residents of food deserts or residents of low-moderate income census tracts that have limited access.
We’re planning to do a large cooler/freezer expansion to support our operation. The project is going to be completed in phases. Are we able to apply for funding specific to a future phase and still meet the requirements of the program?
Yes, you may apply for funding for a future phase.
Any equipment purchased or construction started before you’re notified of an award is not eligible for funding.
If you already have a deposit down on an expensive piece of equipment, but are not currently in possession of this equipment, it is possible to include this piece of equipment in the budget of your application. This piece of equipment may be eligible if you have only put down an initial deposit on it and will not receive it (it will not be shipped from the vendor) before you are notified of the grant award. If you receive, or make further payments on the equipment before notification of the grant award, then it is no longer an eligible grant purchase. Only the expenditures made after notification of the award would be eligible for reimbursement. So, the deposit would not be eligible for reimbursement with grant funds.
Would the reusable containers be considered equipment and applicable for funding?
Reusable containers would be eligible if they were used to directly support the grant project (ex. storage and transport of produce). Reusable containers would not be eligible if they were handed out to individuals/customers (ex. takeout containers for salads or prepared meals).
My partner organization is a community kitchen and we would both like to apply for the grant. We would likely be applying for the some of the same equipment. What is the protocol for two projects with overlapping interest?
If two applicants apply with overlapping interests it would be up to the review committee to determine whether either project was worthy of funding. Please keep in mind the RFP doesn’t specifically preclude items that are necessary for ready-to-eat foods. However, the program is primarily focused on increasing the sales and accessibility of unprepared foods rather than prepared, and it doesn’t fund restaurants.
Grant funds are only available to reimburse specific equipment and physical improvement purchases once -- even if they are mentioned on multiple partner applications. If multiple applications with duplicate items are funded the grant award for one (or more) of the applicants would need to be reduced.
We are not currently SNAP or WIC authorized. We don’t anticipate many problems getting our SNAP authorization with the help of this funding, but we will not be eligible to accept WIC because of minimum stock requirements and concerns about the nutrition of the food package. Are we eligible for GFAP investments?
Before receiving any funds through GFAP, you will need to demonstrate that you have received your SNAP authorization. You also need to show that you have applied to accept WIC (and if approved, participate as a WIC authorized retailer).
Are any of the following pieces of equipment/physical improvements eligible for funding?
Point of Sale system and Quickbooks set-up
Storage coolers and freezers
A percentage of an upgrade to energy efficient HVAC system for our main building
Signage, tents, marketing, and admin for a related farmers' market
Most of the listed items are eligible expenses. Signage, marketing, and administrative costs would not be eligible under this grant program.
Ashley Bress, Program Administrator
Affirmative action policy
Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), 625 Robert Street North, Saint Paul, MN 55155-2538,