TRENTON, N.J. (October 12, 2023) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is increasing the amount of tax credits available to $15 million through the Food Desert Relief Tax Credit Auction. The proceeds of the auction will fund programs aimed to improve and increase access to healthy and affordable food throughout New Jersey’s 50 Food Desert Communities (FDCs).

WHAT:            Due to robust response to the Food Desert Relief Tax Credit Auction, the NJEDA has raised the available auction pool from $10 million to $15 million. Eligible bidders must be New Jersey Corporation Business Tax or Insurance Premiums Tax filers. Companies can bid for tax credits at a discount of up to 15 percent.

Proceeds from the auction will be used to fund programs that will advance the priorities established by the Food Desert Relief Act (FDRA). These future grants, loans, and technical assistance initiatives will complement the Food Desert Relief Tax Credit Program, a tax credit program to support development and operation of new supermarkets in FDCs, by supporting small and mid-sized food retailers and other entities involved in strengthening food security.

WHEN:           Applications will close on October 18 at 5:00 p.m.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses, call NJEDA Customer Care at 844-965-1125 or visit https://www.njeda.gov and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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Tax credit auction will support programs to alleviate food deserts and make nutritious foods more accessible & affordable

TRENTON, N.J. (August 17, 2023) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) will auction up to $10 million in corporate and insurance premiums tax credits through the Food Desert Relief Tax Credit Auction beginning on September 18. The proceeds of the auction will fund programs aimed to improve and increase access to healthy and affordable food throughout New Jersey’s 50 Food Desert Communities (FDCs). The tax credit auction was approved by the NJEDA Board in April.

Eligible bidders must be New Jersey Corporation Business Tax or Insurance Premiums Tax filers. Companies can bid for tax credits at a discount of up to 15 percent. The application for the auction will open on September 18 at 10:00 a.m. and close on October 18 at 5:00 p.m. A sample application and details about the auction process can be found here. Questions may be submitted to FDRTCAuction@NJEDA.gov until Tuesday, September 5 at 5:00 pm. Answers will be posted no later than Monday, September 11 at 5:00 pm.

“The NJEDA is committed to fighting food insecurity and this tax credit auction will help raise funds for programs that will help ensure fresh, healthy, and affordable food is accessible and available in every community across the state,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Every New Jerseyan deserves access to high-quality food options, no matter their zip code. Governor Phil Murphy and the Legislature have long been committed to combatting food insecurity, while uplifting families and neighborhoods.”

In April, the Board approved proposed rules for the $240 million Food Desert Relief Tax Credit Program, as well as the auction of up to $50 million of the $240 million in tax credits in 2023. Proceeds from the auction will be used to fund programs that will advance the priorities established by the Food Desert Relief Act (FDRA). These future grants, loans, and technical assistance initiatives will complement the Food Desert Relief Tax Credit Program, a tax credit program to support development and operation of new supermarkets in FDCs, by supporting small and mid-sized food retailers and other entities involved in strengthening food security.

The FDRA was established under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act (ERA) of 2020. The programs created under the FDRA are part of the NJEDA’s broader portfolio of work focused on food security, including the Food Security Planning Grant, Sustain & Serve NJ, and the Food Retail Innovation in Delivery Grant (FRIDG). Learn more here.

About the NJEDA

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 844-965-1125 or visit https://www.njeda.gov and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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Funding will help local and county governments improve food access in New Jersey’s Food Desert Communities

Trenton, N.J. (May 9, 2023) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has awarded nine grants totaling over $1 million to seven county and municipal governments to support the development of plans to improve food access and food security by leveraging and repurposing distressed assets in New Jersey’s Food Desert Communities (FDCs).

Established under the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020 and signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy, the Food Security Planning Grant Program provides grants of up to $125,000 to municipal governments, county governments, and/or redevelopment agencies to fund development of plans to decrease food insecurity in designated FDCs. All of the grants that have been awarded thus far have gone to entities servicing seven of the top 20 FDCs, including three of the highest-ranked FDCs (Camden, Atlantic City and Newark), which have the greatest acuity of need.

“Connecting every New Jerseyan with equitable access to nutritious food is a core component of Governor Murphy’s strategy for building a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “Through the Food Security Planning Grant Program, we are providing funding to help local government leaders design creative and sustainable reuses that transform their distressed assets into resources that will aid in the fight against hunger and support local economic development.”

The Food Security Planning Grant Program is one tool that the NJEDA is deploying in order to empower local governments to develop and submit plans to improve food access while transforming distressed assets that have historically hindered economic growth.

NJEDA Executive Vice President of Economic Security Tara Colton noted that the NJEDA will leverage the findings and outcomes from awardees’ plans to help develop and deploy future comprehensive food security initiatives and economic development across the state while equipping municipalities with the tools to think about how to repurpose distressed assets.

“Thanks to Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature, we have $300 million in resources that enable us to take a comprehensive approach to addressing food insecurity,” Colton said. “This robust toolkit to combat hunger includes innovative community-driven initiatives like this planning grant and our Sustain & Serve NJ program, which gives grants to local organizations to buy meals from local restaurants and distribute them for free into the community. It also includes tax credits to build new supermarkets in food deserts and our innovative Food Retail Innovation in Delivery program to broaden access to a booming grocery e-commerce industry.”

The following planning grants have been awarded through the program:

Atlantic City (two grants in different parts of the city), #2 ranked FDC: A $125,000 grant will be used to pay costs associated with planning the development of Midtown Co-op Market. Additionally, an $89,000 grant will help plan the development of Mighty Uptown Food Pantry.

City of Camden, #1 ranked FDC: A $125,000 grant will support preliminary building plans and a market feasibility study to develop a state-of-the-art multi-purpose food market, eatery, and indoor farm facility.

Newark (two grants in different parts of the city), #3 and #8 ranked FDCs: A nearly $125,000 grant will pay for the development of a business plan for a new food co-op in the City of Newark. Additionally, Newark intends to use a grant of approximately $112,000 to complete a feasibility study and identify the best use of ground floor retail space in an existing parking deck to increase food security.

City of Passaic, #10 ranked FDC: A $125,000 grant will be used to develop the Passaic City Food Access and Security Action Plan, which will provide a framework for the successful transformation of the selected distressed property into a thriving supermarket center of the Eastside Neighborhood.

Passaic County, #15 ranked FDC: A $125,000 grant will be used to develop a feasibility study for a supermarket, food retailer, or farmers market to be located within a mixed-use development site in Paterson.

Penns Grove, #20 ranked FDC: A $100,000 grant for a feasibility study for a full-service grocery store.

City of Salem, #9 ranked FDC: A $125,000 grant will be used to conduct a feasibility study to bring food from local producers to Salem residents to boost the local supply chain for the region.

About the NJEDA

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 844-965-1125 or
visit https://www.njeda.com and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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Subsidies to Adopt New Grocery Delivery Models to Aid Food Desert Community Residents

TRENTON, N.J (January 6, 2023) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board announced at its December meeting the approval of a new grant program targeted at strengthening food security in the state’s 50 Food Desert Communities (FDC), which are home to 1.5 million New Jersey residents across a diverse range of communities in all 21 counties. This spring, food retailers will be able to apply for the Food Retail Innovation in Delivery Grant (FRIDG) to assist in the purchase and installation of temperature-controlled lockers to expand food delivery options and improve food access for Food Desert Community residents. FRIDG will provide last mile solutions that help FDC residents tap into the exponential growth in online grocery shopping with delivery to a convenient location in their community.

The $2.5 million allocation appropriated through the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget is aligned with Governor Phil Murphy’s commitment to combating food insecurity, including Sustain & Serve NJ, the Food Security Planning Grant and the Food Desert Relief Act, which will provide up to $40 million per year to support a variety of programs that increase access to affordable, nutritious food through funding for supermarkets, small- and mid-size retailers, and other entities that support food security initiatives. NJEDA is also currently seeking public feedback on the Food Desert Relief Tax Credit Program, which aims to support the development and initial operations of new supermarkets and grocery stores in FDCs.

“The FRIDG program will build upon Governor Murphy’s vision and the work being done to uplift those in the state’s targeted Food Desert Communities,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “People should be able to benefit from the advancements in grocery delivery and access nutritious food regardless of their zip code. With this new program, we will make New Jersey a leader in pioneering a new approach to food access in partnership with food retailers.”

“The creation of crucial resources and programs, such as the FRIDG program, plays an important role in our work to stem food insecurity in households across New Jersey,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “This program will help bridge the gap in access to balanced, nutritional meals for working families living in food desert communities in our state, building on our efforts to put food on the table of all New Jerseyans. Meeting the most basic needs of our residents must be our priority and the FRIDG program helps us accomplish this by building on our existing hunger-fighting initiatives.”

Food retailers with at least one physical location in New Jersey can apply for up to $250,000 in funding to purchase and install self-contained, temperature-controlled lockers in one of New Jersey’s 50 designated FDCs. These companies must be authorized to accept online orders paid with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. As of September 2022, there were 789,276 New Jersey residents receiving SNAP benefits, including nearly 350,000 children. In 2020, the NJ Department of Human Services (NJDHS) launched a pilot program to allow SNAP recipients to use their benefits to purchase groceries online. This aligns with the broader growth in online grocery ordering, which now accounts for almost 10 percent of all grocery sales nationwide and is projected to surpass 20 percent by 2026. New Jersey SNAP recipients can now purchase groceries online from 16 retailers, but many FDC residents remain unable to receive groceries as they lack a reliable delivery location due to unpredictable work schedules, family obligations or housing insecurity. The FRIDG lockers are intended to provide FDC residents with a safe, convenient location where their grocery orders – including fresh produce and dairy – will stay fresh until they are retrieved at a convenient time. 

“Food assistance through SNAP puts food on the table for many New Jersey families. But for residents without ready access to fresh, nutritious food, this assistance is incomplete,” NJDHS Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “The FRIDG program bridges the gap by allowing retailers who participate in the states’ online ordering flexibility to better serve customers where they live and work. This program, with the strong leadership and partnership of NJEDA, truly demonstrates the Murphy Administration’s whole-of-government approach to addressing food insecurity.”

Retailers must submit an application detailing their plan to purchase these lockers before actually buying one. The FRIDG grants will cover at least 30 percent of the initial costs, including the installation, which is subject to the state’s prevailing wages and affirmative action laws for installation costs above $2,000. Applicants may increase their grant award through bonuses to cover up to 50 percent of the project costs for commitments such as waiving delivery fees (including for SNAP recipients) and partnering with community-based organizations to host the lockers. The lockers must be installed in public places with easy general access to the public to allow residents to easily access to groceries. such as community centers or libraries, not lobbies of apartment complexes with keycards or locks or other sites with restricted access. The Authority will disburse funds to the purchasing companies following the installation, which will be the lower amount between the determined percentage or $250,000.

“There is no single solution to alleviating food deserts, and FRIDG is a vital element of Governor Murphy’s growing portfolio of food security initiatives,” said NJEDA Executive Vice President for Economic Security Tara Colton. “This program is pioneering a new approach to food access in partnership with food retailers. By meeting people where they are – literally – we aim to eliminate some of the structural and logistical barriers to fresh and nutritious food that should be the standard for all New Jersey residents, regardless of where they live.”

“True food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, economic, and social access to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food,” said Mark Dinglasan, Director of the Office of the Food Security Advocate (OFSA). “The FRIDG program is an innovative approach to food security that encourages public/private partnerships, decreases stigma, leverages technology, and fulfills a good portion of the definition of food security. OFSA is proud to support the NJEDA in this effort and looks forward to continued innovation and collaboration that we can bring to bear when we all work together and push each other to think outside the box.”

Retailers can apply for multiple grants, providing they offer one locker unit per FDC and do not try to install one in a FDC that has already received approval.  The application window will be open for 18 months from the start date or until the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first. This is not a competitive application process, and all candidates will be evaluated separately as applications are received. Upon approval, grantees will have 12 months to install the lockers, with up to two six-month extensions available, pending Authority approval.

About the NJEDA

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 844-965-1125 or visit https://www.njeda.gov and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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Now funded at $57.5M, Sustain & Serve NJ helps program grantees buy meals from local restaurants and feed families over the holidays

TRENTON, N.J. (December 20, 2022) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) today announced plans to allocate an additional $5 million in state funding to Phase 3 of its Sustain & Serve NJ program. Sustain & Serve NJ provides nonprofit organizations with grants to support the purchase of meals from New Jersey restaurants that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and the distribution of those meals at no cost to recipients. The announcement comes at a time of year when nonprofits are facing peak demand for food assistance.  The funding announced today is expected to support the purchase of an additional 450,000 meals.

Sustain & Serve NJ launched during the pandemic as a $2 million pilot program to boost restaurants impacted by COVID-19 while combatting rising food insecurity and has grown into an over $57 million program that continues to bring much-needed food to people across New Jersey. Since February 2021, Sustain & Serve NJ has already supported the purchase of more than four million meals from over 400 restaurants in all 21 counties with grants totaling $57.5 million through three rounds of funding.

“Sustain & Serve NJ is a unique tool with a proven track record of enabling nonprofits to buy meals from local restaurants to combat food insecurity,” Governor Phil Murphy said. “Food banks and other nonprofits statewide are seeing a rising demand this holiday season and this added $5 million for Sustain & Serve NJ will significantly aid their efforts to connect New Jerseyans with nutritious meals.”

Earlier this year, 31 New Jersey nonprofits were approved to receive a total of $17.5 million through Phase 3 of Sustain & Serve NJ. Each of these awardees will now receive additional funding to support their efforts.

“Sustain & Serve NJ grantees are working extra hard this holiday season to feed their neighbors and support their communities,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Governor Murphy has championed Sustain & Serve NJ since the beginning, and we are grateful to him and the Legislature for continuing to provide the resources we need to combat hunger every day of the year while supporting local restaurants throughout the Garden State.”

“This additional $5 million committed to Sustain & Serve NJ partners will go extra lengths in making sure more families see hot and freshly prepared foods on their tables this holiday season, into the New Year, and beyond,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “And that’s incredibly critical as our food banks report sharp increases in food insecurity among our communities.”

Sullivan noted that Sustain & Serve NJ is a key part of the NJEDA’s efforts to strengthen the economic security of all New Jerseyans. The Authority is putting forth a multi-pronged strategy to eliminate food deserts within the state and to bolster the child care sector, an industry whose critical importance was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NJEDA is also working with partners statewide to create a Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center in Trenton as part of First Lady Tammy Murphy’s Nurture NJ initiative to make New Jersey the safest and most equitable place to give birth in the country.

“Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, we are taking a holistic approach to ensuring New Jerseyans’ basic needs are addressed and have placed a large focus on food security,” said NJEDA Executive Vice President of Economic Security Tara Colton. “Sustain & Serve NJ has the ability to transform lives – both by bolstering the restaurant industry and bringing nourishment to New Jerseyans in a respectful and dignified manner.”

Grantees and restaurant owners alike welcomed the news of additional funding and focused on the impact it will have statewide:

“As the cost of living has risen over the past year, many pantries at the Jersey shore are reporting that they are serving even more people than at the height of the pandemic,” Fulfill President and CEO Triada Stampas said. “Sustain & Serve NJ has been a critical tool to help address the food security needs of our neighbors. Over the past two and a half years, we were able to work with 35 restaurant and catering businesses to provide over 701,000 meals to our neighbors, while also helping those businesses survive during a really challenging time. Fulfill is grateful to Governor Murphy and our legislature, as well as Tim Sullivan and Tara Colton at the NJEDA, for their leadership in this expanded support.”

“Sustain & Serve NJ is just one of the programs Governor Murphy has initiated to help New Jersey make it during this period of time,” said Randy Glover, Chairman/Executive Director of All Access Community Development Corporation. “It is abundantly clear that the governor and his administration understand so well the pain and challenges of those at all income levels being faced in New Jersey. His mandates that have been articulated from the beginning of Covid-19 through this current economic crisis, putting food on the tables of all New Jerseyans illustrates his commitment to people, his compassion to all of New Jersey. New Jersey Pride, New Jersey Strong, that’s our Governor, that’s my Governor. Thank you, Governor Murphy, for your vision to see us throughout this time in history.”

“This program has really helped me keep our doors open and serve our community,” said Mohamed Elrawy, owner of Newark-based Pita Square. “Partnering with Coalition Equity has helped me serve my community by giving not only food but fresh and healthy food — something that everybody should be able to have, no questions asked. If you would have told me pre pandemic that I would be able to help people struggling everyday with hunger while keeping my doors open, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s put a whole new meaning to what my restaurant can do and is doing for Newark and the surrounding community. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to participate in this program and partner with programs like Coalition Equity, Newark Working Kitchen and University Hospital to serve the community.” 

About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

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 (844) 965-1125 or visit https://www.njeda.gov and follow @NewJerseyEDA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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