NJEDA Extends Deadline for Responses to RFI Seeking Input on Strategies to Address Food Insecurity in New Jersey’s Food Deserts
Respondents Now Have Until May 17 to Provide Their Ideas
TRENTON, N.J. (April 8, 2021) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced that it has extended the deadline for its Request for Information (RFI) soliciting insight into food security challenges faced by communities across the Garden State, including specific obstacles and disparities within communities that are considered “food deserts.” Responses are now due no later than 11:59 p.m. on May 17, 2021. The RFI can be found at https://www.njeda.gov/bidding/#OET.
The NJEDA issued the RFI on March 15 in conjunction with Governor Phil Murphy’s office and the New Jersey departments of Community Affairs (NJDCA) and Agriculture (NJDA), to gather information and ideas regarding the implementation of the Food Desert Relief Act, part of the NJ Economic Recovery Act of 2020 that Governor Murphy signed into law in January 2021.
The Food Desert Relief Act directs the NJEDA to address the food security needs of communities across New Jersey by providing up to $40 million per year for six years in tax credits, loans, grants, and/or technical assistance to increase access to nutritious foods and develop new approaches to alleviate food deserts. The information gathered from this RFI will help inform the creation of a New Jersey-specific definition of food deserts and offer potential solutions to increase the accessibility and affordability of healthy, nutritious foods for all NJ residents.
In 2018, approximately 775,000 New Jerseyans reported difficulty putting food on their table at some point in the year. That number is now projected to grow by more than 60 percent, to a total of over 1.2 million New Jersey residents (13 percent of all residents) facing food insecurity. According to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, an estimated 365,000 New Jersey children – approximately one in five children – will experience food insecurity this year, an increase of 75 percent. In addition, a 2018 analysis conducted by the Reinvestment Fund found that nearly 880,000 New Jerseyans had limited access to a supermarket or a grocery store.
In addition to seeking information to better understand the short- and long-term food accessibility challenges faced by communities across New Jersey, this RFI also invites ideas for potential initiatives to increase accessibility and affordability of healthy foods and considerations for the NJEDA and its partner agencies in defining the state’s food desert communities.
The RFI seeks responses from such entities as municipalities and school districts; hunger relief organizations (e.g., food banks); food retailers, producers, processors and suppliers; advocacy organizations; social services providers; supermarket developers and operators; community stakeholders; policy and academic researchers; technical assistance providers; agricultural organizations and farm markets; developers of innovative anti-hunger and nutrition programs; and foundations and philanthropic initiatives that address hunger and food insecurity.
All RFI responses must be submitted in writing no later than 11:59 PM EST on May 17, 2021, via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line of the e-mail should state: “RFI Response-2021-RFI-OET-COVID19-FoodDesert-125”.
The NJEDA is currently soliciting feedback on the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act, including the Food Desert Relief Act. Anyone who wishes provide your comment(s) on the implementation of the package of tax incentive, financing, & grant programs that will be created under the Act should visit https://www.njeda.gov/economicrecoveryact/.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.gov and follow @NewJerseyEDA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
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