The Food Grants are available to charities and not-for-profit organisations in the UK for projects promoting the important role food plays in community well-being (this includes people and livestock). Charities do not need to be registered charities to apply, but the Foundation can only fund work that is legally charitable.

Grants are normally for £5,000 or more. Applicants are advised to apply for the amount they need. There is no maximum grant amount. However, the Foundation makes only a small number of grants in excess of £500,000 and it is unusual for the Foundation to give a grant of this size or larger to an organisation with which it does not already have a relationship.

Grants are available to support organisations’ core or project costs, including staff salaries and overheads.

Funding priorities are as follows:

o Food and wellbeing - funding is available for exemplary and high impact work that improves people’s understanding of the role of food in their lives and the impact it can have on personal and community wellbeing. In particular, the Fund seeks to influence changes in public preferences, attitudes and behaviours. This can be simple but should be on a scale that influences and drives how food is produced, transported, marketed and consumed and can influence significant numbers of people. Approaches that are engaging, participatory and educational without 'preaching' to people are sought.
o Local innovation in alternative approaches - funding is available for inventive local projects that demonstrate alternative approaches to mainstream corporate food production and consumption. These exemplify viable food production methods that do less harm to the natural environment than conventional food production practices, while enhancing the lives of people and livestock. Suitable projects will involve local communities and should have the ability to be widely replicable if successful. Applicants should articulate how their project might help to influence policy and practice.
o Working towards a more coherent food sector - Food Grants aim to foster closer links between those who can influence changes in food production, distribution and consumption, such as third sector community food groups and retailers. This will include work that links advocates of change in the food system with academics and sources of research and evidence. Support is also available for work that aims to persuade mainstream food businesses of all sizes to engage with the food sustainability agenda and to seek sustainable sources of supply.

Funding is also available for organisations that have the capacity and skills to engage policy makers at national regional and local level. For this, applications are sought from organisations with a track record of gathering and presenting persuasive, evidence-based arguments.

Through this funding, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation hopes to see:

o High quality, innovative local food projects, particularly those that can become financially sustainable and are replicable.
o Closer links between non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community groups, producers, retailers and industry in order to create a more coherent food sector.
o A demonstrable improvement in people’s understanding of the place that food plays in our lives and that delivers behaviour changes.
o Greater demand for food that is produced more sustainably and approaches with the capacity to influence a large number of consumers.
o A prioritisation of sustainable food production and consumption in local and national policy, practice and decision-making.

Applications may be submitted at any time. Applicants are, however, first advised to take the online eligibility quiz.

The Foundation has a two-stage application process. Applicants should first make an online first stage application to allow the Foundation to make an initial assessment and decide whether to take the application to the second stage. Applicants that are successful at this stage will be invited to make a second stage application.

Visit the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation website for further information. 

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