IL-EATS - Appendix A - Criteria and Definitions

Lead Agency

The types of applicants that may apply for the grant award are lead agencies that should have networks and systems in place at the time of application and must have systems in place within 60 days of the contract start date. Lead agencies must have interest and capacity to use the funding to purchase food products from underserved/socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers and provide collaboration and coordination of the distribution of food to community-based organizations/sites in underserved areas in Illinois at no cost to members of the community.

Lead agencies must:

  • Have fiscal experience and abilities to invoice project expenses following GATA procedures in a timely manner;
  • Have fiscal experience and abilities to pay growers/producers and any contractors, vendors, etc. based on a reimbursement model after 60 days (refer to section F. 4. Payment Terms).;
  • Have experience and ability to comply with Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards;
  • Have experience and ability to complete project reports and attend collaboration meetings;
  • Have knowledge of the local food system in the region;
  • Have experience and ability to build and sustain diverse collaborations and partnerships;
  • Have capacity to contract/partner with underserved/socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers;
  • Have capacity to distribute foods to organizations via internal transportation infrastructure or via collaborations;
  • Have capacity and experience in building relationships with community-based organizations to receive products; and
  • Belief in building an equitable local food system.

Underserved/Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

For growers and producers that want to participate in this program and work with lead agencies, they must be a socially disadvantaged farmer located within the state of Illinois and products must be grown or produced within Illinois and must fall within one or more of the categories below to be eligible to participate in this program in coordination with a lead agency or to be eligible to apply as a lead agency (along with meeting the criteria of a Lead Agency):

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Asian
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
  • Black/African American
  • Latine/o/a
  • Refugee
  • LGBTQ+
  • Veteran
  • Female Business Owner
  • Greater than 50 miles (or 30 minutes) to the nearest distribution point (farmers market or market opportunity)
  • Qualify for benefits based on income (low socioeconomic status)
  • Person with disabilities
  • New farmer/rancher (USDA definition is under 10 years)
  • Business is located in one of the following high-vulnerability counties (as determined by CDC's Social Vulnerability Index: Champaign, Coles, Cook, Douglas, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Knox, Lake, Lawrence, Macon, Marion, Massac, Morgan, Peoria, Perry, Pulaski, Rock Island, Saline, St. Clair, Stephenson, Union, Vermilion, Warren, Wayne, Winnebago

Community-Based Organizations (CBOs)

Lead agencies must ensure the food that is purchased for this program is distributed to underserved communities at no cost. The list of examples provided below, while not exhaustive, are some ways the food can be distributed to consumers in need:

  • Mobile markets
  • Backpack programs
  • Summer food/snack programs
  • Prescription program
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Meal programs (e.g., Medically Tailored Meals)
  • Feeding programs for homeless
  • Food box programs
  • Food pantry
  • Schools
  • Mutual aid
  • Novel ordering/pick up delivery

The lead agency must ensure the Community Based Organizations (CBOs) they plan to work with will distribute the food to underserved communities meeting the following criteria:

  • Have the infrastructure to accept and store foods (at no cost to the CBO) per current food safety guidelines.
  • Have relationships with individuals and families facing nutrition insecurity in underserved communities and be able to provide justification of how they meet this requirement.
  • Have the customer base to use or distribute the food in a timely manner to ensure zero waste.
  • Be available to meet the needs of the community members and neighbors to ensure equitable access to food.

Underserved Communities

Underserved community is defined as communities that have not had access or equitable access to food and are facing nutrition insecurity.

Nutrition security builds on food security, emphasizing the co-existence of food insecurity and diet-related diseases and disparities.

A household is food secure if all members, at all times, can access enough food for an active, healthy life. At a minimum, food security includes:

  • Readily available nutritionally adequate and safe foods, and
  • The ability to acquire those foods in socially acceptable ways (without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies).

Nutrition security, in turn, means consistent access, availability, and affordability of foods and beverages that promote well-being, prevent disease, and, if needed, treat disease, particularly among racial/ethnic minority populations, lower income populations, and rural and remote populations including Tribal communities and Insular areas.

Nutrition security is an emerging concept that complements efforts to increase food security while also:

  • Recognizing that Americans, in general, fall short of an active, healthy lifestyle, aligned with our Nation's dietary and physical activity guidelines, and
  • Emphasizing that we apply an equity lens to ensure our efforts to promote access, availability, and affordability to foods and beverages serve all populations and address the connection between food insecurity and diet-related chronic diseases.

Communities with high vulnerability as it relates to nutrition insecurity are considered underserved. The following are resources to help determine if your community is underserved:

Illinois EATS - Local Food Purchasing Assistance (LFPA) Allowable Foods List

The IL-EATS LFPA allowable foods list can be found on the University of Illinois Extension LFPA website as a PDF.

Illinois EATS - Local Food Purchasing Assistance (LFPA) Cultural Food Guide

The IL-EATS LFPA Cultural Food Guide can be found on the University of Illinois Extension LFPA website as a PDF

1. United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service Definitions of Food Security.