Program launches to provide no cost refrigerators for increased access to healthy foods | SierraSun.com
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Program launches to provide no cost refrigerators for increased access to healthy foods

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The High Sierra Energy Foundation and Sierra Business Council are working together on the Sierra Healthy Refrigeration Program that will provide access to free refrigeration and bring healthy food options to low access areas.

The organizations will conduct outreach and deliver technical expertise to small businesses, food donation centers, and tribal organizations in rural areas in the Sierra region.

This grant program is funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Farm-to-Fork and will be providing $18.6 million statewide for free energy efficient refrigeration units in low-income or low-access areas throughout the state. Refrigeration units are to be stocked with California-grown fresh produce, nuts, dairy, meat, eggs, minimally processed, and culturally appropriate foods.



Benefits of the SHRP include increasing access to healthy, fresh foods in low-income or low-access areas, accelerating adoption of energy efficient refrigeration units by small businesses, and supporting California’s climate initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by older, less efficient refrigeration units.

The successful implementation of this grant will include outreach, engagement, assistance with the refrigeration grant application and active participation in the equipment selection, funding and deployment portions of the program. The HSEF and SBC have been allies for nearly a decade on the Rural and Hard-to-Reach working group, sharing best practices and promoting the needs of rural ratepayers to the California Public Utilities Commission.



The HSEF and SBC will coordinate efforts to implement this program in 16 counties including, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Inyo, Lassen, Mariposa, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Sutter, Tuolumne, and Yuba.

“The HSEF participated in the CDFA Healthy Stores Pilot Program, and although the pandemic presented significant challenges, the organization successfully implemented the program delivering units and increasing availability of fresh produce to hyper rural areas in the region,” said Pam Close Bold, Executive Director of the HSEF. “Our two organizations’ goal is to increase the energy efficiency of stores’ refrigeration units and drive economic value to our local businesses, all while expanding access to healthy foods in food desert areas of the Sierra.”

The CDFA-F2F anticipates opening the first round of requests for applications for grant recipients in December, with the application deadline in March of 2023.

Grant recipients must meet the following eligibility requirements:

1. Corner stores, which include small-scale or grocery stores, that sell a limited selection of foods and other products, that are located in a low-income or low-food access areas.

2. Small businesses including but not limited to small farm operations with farm stands or stores, that sell or donate food to low-income or low-food access clientele. Small businesses must be independently owned, with 100 or fewer employees, average annual gross receipts of $16 million or less, and, if conducting food sales, must be authorized to accept EBT/SNAP/CalFresh benefits.

3. Food donation programs who donate food directly to low-income or low-food access clientele.

4. Cities, counties, or Tribal governments that will apply for equipment and provide technical assistance to corner stores, small businesses, and/or food donation programs.

To learn more about this grant program and to submit an Interest Form, visit SierraFridgeGrant.org.

The HSEF’s primary mission surrounds energy efficiency and sustainability. The organization has implemented the Eastern Sierra Green Business Program, a member of the California Green Business Network), for the past four years, originally in Mono County, but expanded to Inyo County in 2020. This program provides technical assistance to small businesses in the region, with energy efficiency being one of the primary focus areas.

Learn more at highsierraenergy.org or reach out to Close Bold at bold@highsierraenergy.org or 760-914-3136


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