North End Food Access RFP: Eliminating A Food Desert

Niagara Falls Community Development Seeks

North End Food Access Proposals

The Goal: Elimination of a Food Desert

August 9, 2017 - The Niagara Falls Community Development Department is seeking competitive proposals for sale/access to fresh food options, located in but not limited to, in Federal Census Tracts 202 and 204.  Proposals are due to the department on September 8, 2017. “The city’s north end has long been a food desert and the purpose of this request is to create direct and consistent fresh food access as quickly as possible,” said Seth Piccirillo, Director of Niagara Falls Community Development. 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a “food desert” as a geographic area lacking access to fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas, largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers' markets, and healthy food providers. The USDA stipulates that individuals living more than ½ mile (urban areas) or more than 10 miles (rural areas) from the nearest supermarket, supercenter, or large grocery store are living in a food desert. These distances are exacerbated by a lack of vehicular travel.  Currently, residents within the North End are anywhere up to two or more miles away from access to a grocery store or other produce and food product provider.  Per these federal definitions, the City of Niagara Falls’ North End, especially within Census Tracts 202 and 204, is a food desert.

The RFP is funded with $147,900 in United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant funds (CDBG) already dedicated to the Highland Avenue Community. Specifically, the RFP is seeking a plan for a permanent store, that gives residents a daily opportunity to shop for and purchase fresh produce and food products at competitive price; and/or a mobile food service model, that gives residents a daily opportunity to shop for and purchase fresh produce and food products at competitive price.

If proposals include a permanent store, the Niagara Falls Community Development Department will favor plans that include a local hiring component, per the City’s “Executive Pronouncement of New Community Benefit Agreement Policy.”

Details of the RFP can be found at nf-cd.org/rfp.