WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture will award $4.8 million to local organizations in 14 states to build community food systems and fight hunger and food insecurity, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said Sept. 16. Projects will fund food policy council training, urban agriculture, new farmers on preservation farmland, promotion of native food sovereignty, youth, urban and rural food production projects, and community food assessments.

"These grants put funds in low-income communities that struggle with access to healthy food, and they are an important step toward achieving our goal of having healthy, nutritious food available to everyone, especially children," Ms. Merrigan said.

The U.S.D.A.’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service will provide the funding, which is part of the U.S.D.A.’s "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative. The 14 states involved are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.