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Minnesota Department of Agriculture calls for advisory committee applicants

ST. PAUL—The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is the home of the new Good Food Access Program, established during the 2016 legislative session. The first order of business is to make initial appointments to the GFAP Advisory Committee, an MDA release said.

The GFAP Advisory Committee will assist the Commissioner of Agriculture in establishing program criteria, project eligibility guidelines, application processes and additional selection criteria, and annual monitoring and accountability mechanisms. The Advisory Committee will also facilitate leveraging of additional public and private investments, and promote the program statewide. The advisory committee must meet at least twice per year.

The GFAP was established to increase the availability of and access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, for underserved communities in low-income and moderate-income areas. To accomplish this, the program will provide a combination of financial and technical assistance to open, renovate, or expand the operations of grocery stores and small food retailers, expand access to credit, and reduce barriers to investment in underserved communities in low- and moderate-income areas.

The GFAP Advisory Committee needs representatives of the following categories:

• Grocery industry (1).

• Economic or community development, (1) rural and (1) urban or suburban.

• Political subdivisions of the state (2).

• Public health experts (1).

• Philanthropic foundations (1).

• Economic or community development financial institutions (1).

• The University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (1).

• Organizations engaged in addressing food security (2).

• Statewide hunger relief organization (1).

• Community-based organization (1).

• Immigrant farmer-led organization (1).

• Small business technical assistance with experience in food retail (1).

8 Members with economic development, health equity, financial, or other relevant experience (up to 4).

Vacancies will be filled through the state's Open Appointments process. The application form is available online at www.sos.state.mn.us/boards-commissions/current-vacancies/ or by calling the Secretary of State's office at 651-297-5845. MDA asks applicants to identify the category/sector they want to represent and strongly encourage them to submit a cover letter describing their interest and qualifications, the release said.

The Commissioner of Agriculture will appoint GFAP Advisory Committee members. Applicants who submit their materials by June 28 will receive first consideration.

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