Applications expected to open in early 2024. Please visit this page again for updates.

The Atlantic City Food Security Grants program is a pilot program awarding grants between $50,000 and $500,000 for projects to strengthen food access and food security in Atlantic City.


In January 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed the Food Desert Relief Act, which allocated to NJEDA a total of $240 million in tax credits over six years and directed NJEDA to collaborate with the New Jersey Departments of Community Affairs and Agriculture to designate up to 50 Food Desert Communities (FDCs) across the state. Out of all 50 FDCs, the Atlantic City/Ventnor FDC ranks second highest, indicating extremely significant need. More than 41,000 people reside within the boundaries of the Atlantic City/Ventnor FDC, which covers the entirety of Atlantic City as well as a portion of neighboring Ventnor.

NJEDA anticipates that the forthcoming Food Desert Relief Tax Credit Program will offer an important tool to develop and sustain new supermarkets in FDCs. Atlantic City has been without a full-service supermarket since 2006. Developing and opening a new supermarket takes years, and residents of Atlantic City need and deserve improved access to nutritious food much sooner than that. Recognizing that a supermarket is not the only path to improving access to nutritious food, this program aims to pilot a variety of different initiatives that could address the challenges of Food Desert Communities, beginning with Atlantic City.

In this program, NJEDA will use $5.25 million funding from the American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund to award grants to projects that can have an impact for Atlantic City residents’ ability to access fresh, affordable, healthy food in advance of the construction of a supermarket, while simultaneously benefitting employment by helping applicants expand or increase their activities.


Eligible Applicants

Grants will be awarded only to entities that meet the following criteria:

  • Applicant is a for-profit, nonprofit or government entity that has been in existence for at least two years at the time of application;
  • Applicant currently serves, in any manner, residents of the Atlantic City/Ventnor FDC;
  • Applicant can demonstrate existing programming or services related to food access and/or food security, including but not limited to: food distribution, nutrition education, local agriculture, and/or food retail (such programming may be different than the food security or food access activities proposed for the grant); and
  • Applicant is in good standing with the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Department of Environmental Protection.
  • Applicant is not subject to suspension or debarment in accordance with 2 CFR § 200.214 and its implementing regulations, including Executive Orders 12549 and 12689, 2 CFR part 180.

Eligible Projects

Grant funds will be awarded only to entities that indicate that they will use the grant funds to improve food access and/or food security in Atlantic City. The proposed use(s) must be accomplished within two years of execution of the grant agreement, subject to two 6-month extensions by EDA staff if the grantee is diligently pursuing the use and the delay was unforeseeable and not in the grantee’s control, to the extent allowed under federal spending deadlines. Acquisition of land or buildings is not an eligible cost. All other costs that are incurred after the date of grant agreement execution are eligible, subject to the Authority’s approval of the project budget and supporting documentation. For example, costs can include construction, equipment, installation, salaries and fringe, and rent.

As required by law, construction, including use of trades in construction related to installation of equipment, will be subject to state affirmative action requirements for contractors, and such work with a cost of $2,000 or more will be subject to New Jersey prevailing wage requirements. Additionally, grantees must utilize contractors registered as a New Jersey Public Works Contractor with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for work subject to prevailing wage.

Awards will be subject to federal Duplication of Benefits requirements and, if construction is included, to cost reasonableness analysis.


Applicants may request a grant amount from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of $500,000. Grant funds may cover up to 100 percent of the proposed project costs. If grant funds from EDA are not requested to cover 100 percent of the proposed project costs, additional funding sources must be described in the budget and budget narrative submitted for approval.


Selected applicants will enter into a grant agreement with NJEDA, and funds will be disbursed according to the following schedule:

  • 50 percent of the grant will be disbursed upon execution of a grant agreement between NJEDA and the selected applicant;
  • 25 percent of the grant will be disbursed upon the applicant’s submission of the mid-program report, the exact timing to be determined based on the grantee’s implementation plan and reflected in the grant agreement; and
  • 25 percent of the grant amount will be disbursed upon the Authority’s review and approval of the applicant’s submission of a final report on completion of the proposed project, expected to be no later than two (2) years following the date of the grant agreement execution or September 30, 2026, whichever is earlier.


Applicant fees will be waived for this program.


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Questions can be directed to or 609-322-6835.



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