Murkowski Commends $1.6 Million Investment for Food Security in Alaska

Today, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced $1.6 million in Micro-Grants for Food Security Program (MGFSP) contracts were delivered to 366 individuals and non-profits within Alaska. These contracts will fund 234 projects that will help Alaskans grow more local, nutritious food in communities throughout the state.

Murkowski created MGFSP via the 2018 Farm Bill to help increase food security in the non-contiguous states and territories. Due to her work as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Congress funded MGFSP in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 and the program is slated to receive an increase in funding in FY22. As a result, Alaskans, Hawaiians, and citizens of the U.S. Territories may apply to their respective state agriculture agencies for grant funding to “increase the quantity and quality of locally-grown food in food insecure communities through small-scale, agricultural-related projects.”

 usda approved grants for alaska

“I developed this program because Alaska imports about 95 percent of the food we eat, and far too many Alaskans lack access to affordable, nutritious food. By increasing opportunities to grow, store, and process our own food, we are not only combatting the issue of food insecurity, but helping Alaskans find the stability and confidence they need to continue to call our state home,” said Senator Murkowski. “I am grateful to Alaska Division of Agriculture Director David Schade and his staff for their efforts to ensure the success of the Micro-Grants program in this first year of its implementation. The number of Alaskans who applied for these programs—particularly during the first year they were available—is incredibly significant. To know that over $1.6 million will be distributed to support Alaska’s food security is wonderful news. I look forward to the positive impact these grants will have in communities across our state, and I remain committed to ensuring continued federal funding for the Micro-Grants program in the years ahead.”

Additional background on MGFSP:

Individuals, Indian tribes and tribal organizations, non-profit organizations, federally-funded educational facilities, and local and tribal governments that may not levy local taxes are eligible to apply for MGFSP grant funds. Individuals are eligible to receive up to $5,000 per year; other eligible entities may receive up to $10,000 per year.  

MGFSP funds may be used to purchase items necessary to grow and store food; expanding areas under cultivation; hydroponic and aeroponic farming; building, buying, erecting or repairing fencing for livestock, poultry, and reindeer; purchasing and equipping a slaughter and processing facility; traveling to participate in agricultural education; creating or expanding avenues for the sale of local food; and engaging in other activities related to increasing food security (including subsistence).

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved its Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 bill for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Murkowski worked in include $6 million for the Micro-Grants for Food Security program. This represents a $1 million increase over Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021.  The agricultural agencies in Alaska and Hawaii are guaranteed to receive 40 percent of the available funds. 

Earlier this year, Senator Murkowski penned an opinion piece with Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) to highlight the realities of food insecurity, share additional details of the MGFSP, and encourage those who are eligible to apply.

Information for the next opportunity to apply for the MGFSP will be published on the Division of Agriculture’s Grants web page: http://dnr.alaska.gov/ag/ag_grants.htm