MADISON, Wis. — Second Harvest Foodbank announced Thursday $200,000 in funding for four local groups working to address food inequity throughout Dane County.

The four grant recipients — Kennedy Heights Community Center, REAP Food Group, the Hmong Institute and Groundswell Conservancy — were chosen from a group of 36 proposals for plans to build long-term, racially diverse strategies to make nutritious and culturally-significant food available to members of traditionally marginalized communities.

CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank Michelle Orge said the recipients were chosen by a five-person panel made up of two Second Harvest staff members and three community members with experience in community organizing and grant distribution.

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“We did this because we strongly believe that everyone in our community should have equitable access to food that is both nutritious and culturally meaningful,” Orge said. “We alone do not have all the answers, and we know that food insecurity is disproportionately high for racial and ethnic groups with identities that have been marginalized, which makes it even more critical to center communities of color as collaborators and creators.”

The Hmong Institute received the largest grant, $75,000, which leaders said will be used to support its food care box program and support families awaiting aid.

REAP Food Group received just over $61,000 that will go toward a farm-to-families food program, buying from female and BIPOC growers, and creating a co-learning space focused on cooking, breastfeeding and food policy.

Kennedy Heights Community Center, which received $55,800, will use the funds to revitalize its community garden space and launch cooking classes that focus on traditional cooking methods.

Groundswell Conservancy received $7,000 that leaders plan to put toward an equitable water distribution system that will help Hmong growers with their work.

Anyone interested in learning more about or donating to Second Harvest Foodbank can find more information online.