Grant round is closed. Applications were due March 19.

Prevention of wasted food and food rescue grants

Examples of foodThe Prevention of Wasted Food and Food Rescue Grants provide financial assistance for the development or expansion of programs that can help prevent food from being wasted and/or promote food rescue (food to people). This RFP is focused on food donation and preventing food from going to waste.

Approximately $580,000 was available to organizations with project proposals that can have a measurable impact, through prevention or food rescue, on reducing the greenhouse gas impacts from food that is wasted.

See the request for proposals (RFP) for full details on eligibility, grant match amounts, and other information that will help applicants submit a proposal.

Closed: Application deadline was March 19, 2021

  • Total funds: Approximately $580,000
  • Awards: Maximum $250,000; minimum $75,000
  • Match requirement: 25% (applicants must provide at least 25% match of the grant award)

Application materials

Prevention of wasted food and food rescue grants (FY21)

PDF icon Request for proposals (p-f2-50a-fy21)

This document describes the State Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) Prevention of Wasted Food and Food Rescue grant round, including information on who may apply for funding, the funding priorities, match requirements, activities eligible for funding, and other information that will help applicants plan their project and submit a competitive application. Applications are due no later than 4:00 p.m. Central Time on Friday, March 19, 2021. Submissions will not be accepted after 4:00 p.m.

Office spreadsheet icon Budget (p-f2-50e-fy21)

PDF icon Sample grant agreement (p-f2-50d-fy21)

Questions and answers

MPCA personnel are not authorized to discuss this RFP with applicants. Contact regarding this RFP with any MPCA personnel may result in disqualification.

Applicants who have any questions regarding this RFP must submit questions to grants.pca@state.mn.us, subject line: “Prevention of Wasted Food and Food Rescue”, no later than 4:00 p.m. Central Time on March 16, 2021. Answers to questions will be posted frequently on this MPCA webpage.

Q1: Would rent for commercial space to house a food rescue program be an eligible cost?
A1: According to the RFP under the ineligible cost section on page 4, any activities that occur before the execution of the grant agreement are not eligible. The cost of general operating support such as routine overhead expenses not related to the proposed project are ineligible expenses and the purchase of real property is not an eligible cost but could be used as match. The applicant would not be able to count existing rent; however rent for a space for use in the project could be eligible but would have to be rented after the execution of the grant agreement.

Q2: Would salary for new staff dedicated to food rescue be an eligible cost?
A2: Per the RFP under section 5 “Eligible and ineligible costs”, “staffing specific to the project is eligible.”

Q3: Do we need to submit the 3 bids with the application – or do we provide those after an award offer is made?  We are looking to apply for a large walk in freezer.
A3: Bids are not required at the time of application, but can be used as optional supporting documentation and are encouraged. See the RFP, section 8, page 8 “Application instructions.”

Q4: We have an active Prevention of Wasted Food and Food Rescue grant but are seeking additional funds for our program this year. Are we able to submit an application?
A4: This RFP does not prevent prior applicants and/or awardees from applying again. However, the project can’t be an addition to an existing project or a continuation of an ongoing project since an ineligible cost would be activities initiated and costs incurred prior to the execution of the grant agreement. It would have to be a new project.

Q5: For a project that results in edible food being rescued and distributed to people can partnering businesses be in another state for those areas that are on the border? For example, can a Clay County Minnesota organization rescue food from a Cass County North Dakota restaurant? Being border cities/counties the impact on reduced food waste benefits both states.
A5: No. In addition to the requirement that eligible applicants must be based in Minnesota, the food rescued could not be from another state. Per the RFP, under Section 5, page 4, “Eligible Costs”, “Researching, developing, or implementing projects or practices that will reduce food from going to waste and/or increase food for rescue that otherwise would have gone to waste in Minnesota.”

Q6a: Under section 5 The Eligible and Ineligible Costs; Staffing specific to the project is eligible. Staff could be hired/paid through the grant as long as their employment is specific to the project?
A6a: Yes

Q6b: Under the same section discussing the purchase of real property. Could this ever explained a little more clearly? We read it as real property IS eligible? As long as land has not been purchased prior to the grant agreement? Grant money could be used for new property specific to the project?
A6b: The purchase of real property is eligible but only towards the required match (not grant money) so long as it is purchased AFTER execution of the grant agreement.

Q7: Will there be any sort of Q & A webinar available to for any further clarifications/questions?
A7: There will not be a webinar for this grant round.

Q8: Is $75,000 the minimum dollar amount for the project or the requested grant funds?
A8: The minimum grant dollar request is $75,000.

Q9: Can you use grant funds to purchase a vehicle?
A9: Equipment cannot be purchased before the project is executed. Equipment costs may be eligible on a case-by-case basis to prevent food from being wasted or increase capacity to store food that is being rescued.

Q10: Are the grant funds given up-front or are they reimbursed funds?
A10: The grant funds are not provided up-front. Grant funds are reimbursable upon receipt of approved invoices and reporting requirements.

Q11: Looking for clarity on this question: If applicable, please list any partners that will be part of the grant project and provide proof of their involvement (letters of support).
Looking for clarity on the definition of “partner”.  Are you looking for food rescue partners, construction partners, agency partners, or partners specifically to buying and installing the freezer we are applying for?  

A11: A partner is an organization that will be working on the project along with the organization applying for the grant. The project would not be completed without the help from a partnering organization.

Q12: My team at Loaves & Fishes is finalizing our application and budget for the MPCA Prevention of Wasted Food and Food Rescue Grant. We will be proposing a project in partnership with Metropolitan Airports Commission to build out a food rescue project at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Could you please tell me what we should attach as the “proof of matching funds” supporting document for this type of project?
A12: A complete application will consist of the following documents: Application and Project work plan form (use Word format provided), budget (Use Excel format provided), and letters of support are not required but are strongly encouraged for proposals that rely on other organizations. Proof of matching funds should be shown in the budget sheet within the total match column with more detail in the work plan.

Q13: Can applications be partially funded if not for the full amount?
A13: The MPCA will award projects until the funding is gone. This could result in a partial funding for a project. If this occurs the applicant would be notified of the proposed partial award and the applicant would be able to deny the award if the project would no longer work.

Q14: As we’re reviewing this grant, I wonder if our MCK work is considered an “existing project.” Would that make us ineligible for a grant for additional refrigeration for our food rescue work?
A14: A lot of the food rescue work happens under umbrella organizations but projects that happen at unique locations and serve different communities could be considered different projects. It is the applicant’s responsibility to explain within the work plan how the newly applied for grant funds are different than previously requested grant funds.

Q15: The total project costs are expected to exceed $100,000, but we plan to apply for less than $100,000 in grant funding. Would we be required to undergo a formal notice and bidding process?
A15: No, the grantee bidding requirements (on page 6 of the RFP) only apply to “grant-funded services and/or materials”, so the formal notice and bidding process would only be required when grant funds exceed the threshold. Note that there are different requirements depending on the type of entity (i.e. non-governmental vs. municipality).

Q16: Under Objective 1, Task A in the workplan the instructions read "Outline the key steps (Tasks) to implement the project and the necessary actions to implement each step. There is no minimum or maximum number of tasks a project must have, but the two “must have” tasks for every project are Reporting. For each objective, identify the timeframe, responsible party, and estimated funds (identify the source of the match if other than the applicant)." Is there a second “must have” task that is not listed here?
A16: This is an error, applicants are only required to have a task for reporting. The document has been updated.

Q17: In the sample grant agreement I cannot find information about reporting requirements.
A17: The RFP refers to the example reporting objective in the application and work plan document:

EXAMPLE:
Objective 6 -- Reporting
Task A:  Will submit an Interim Report within 1 year of the execution of the grant agreement or at 50% completion of the project, whichever occurs first.
Task B:  Will submit a Final Report 1 month prior to the end of the grant agreement or at 100% completion of the project.
Task 6 - Total:       Grant: $0         Match: $450         Total: $450.00
Person(s) Responsible:  Outreach Coordinator
Timeframe:  July 1, 2021 – May 30, 2023

Q18: is the purchase of produce from farmers at famers’ markets an eligible expense? The produce purchases would be part of a strategy to incentive donations from farmers.
A18: Eligible and ineligible costs are outlined on page 4 of the RFP. This expense is not specifically addressed in that section but the RFP focus is on preventing food from going to waste and food donation. It would be the responsibility of the applying organization to explain how this would increase food donation or prevent food from going to waste and would need to be funded through the grant.

Q19: In the section about eligible expenses for matching funds, it lists “In-kind hours from paid staff contributing to the project”, what does this mean?
A19: Staff time dedicated to the project is an eligible expense to use towards project match as well as hours from volunteers that work directly on the project but the limit for their hourly wage is $15/hour.  

Q20: Will equipment or supplies purchased with CARES Act funding but not yet put into service be eligible for match?
A20: No, the equipment and supplies cannot be used as match in this situation, as the cost of those items was incurred prior to execution of a grant agreement. See the RFP, “Ineligible Costs” on page 4.

Q21: Can equipment and vehicle depreciation be used as match?
A21: No, the equipment and vehicle depreciation cannot be used as match in this situation, as the cost of those items was incurred prior to execution of a grant agreement. See the RFP, “Ineligible Costs” on page 4.

Q22: Can related costs to picking, sorting, transporting, and storing for product that would have been left in the field be used as match?
A22: Eligible and ineligible costs are outlined on page 4 of the RFP. Examples of ineligible and eligible match are listed on page 2. Examples of eligible match are: In-kind hours from paid staff contributing to the project; Hours from volunteers contributing to the project (not to exceed $15/hour); Cost to purchase, or reasonable dollar value estimate for equipment or materials to support the project (e.g., boxes to collect rescued food). This example is not specifically addressed in that section but the RFP focus is on preventing food from going to waste and food donation. It would be the responsibility of the applying organization to explain how this contributes to the project goal and how it would increase food donation or prevent food from going to waste. If this is clear in the application, this could count toward the required matching funds percentage as long as the cost isn’t incurred prior to execution of a grant agreement.

Q23: Can commercial freezer storage space used for extended preservation and supporting distribution be used for match?
A24: Eligible and ineligible costs are outlined on page 4 of the RFP. Examples of ineligible and eligible match are listed on page 2. Examples of eligible match are: In-kind hours from paid staff contributing to the project; Hours from volunteers contributing to the project (not to exceed $15/hour); Cost to purchase, or reasonable dollar value estimate for equipment or materials to support the project (e.g., boxes to collect rescued food). This example is not specifically addressed in that section but the RFP focus is on preventing food from going to waste and food donation. It would be the responsibility of the applying organization to explain how this contributes to the project goal and how it would increase food donation or prevent food from going to waste. If this is clear in the application, this could count toward the required matching funds percentage as long as the cost isn’t incurred prior to execution of a grant agreement.

Q24:  Are we required to submit a board resolution with this application?
A24: Yes, if applicable. See page 4 of the RFP Application Form and Workplan.

Background

Food is the single largest component of waste going to landfills and incinerators at around 18% of what Minnesotans throw away.

While it varies by area, research agrees that 30-40% of the food in the United States goes uneaten. At the same time, one in eight Americans struggles to put enough food on the table.

Here in Minnesota, the average household in St. Paul wastes almost $100 worth of food every month.