Fresno-Merced Future of Food (F3)
Coalition Lead Applicant: Central Valley Community Foundation
Region (applicant-defined): Fresno-Merced region, California (Fresno, Tulare, Merced, Madera and Kings counties)
Phase 2 Federal Award: Approximately $65.1 million
The Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation (F3) coalition, led by the Central Valley Community Foundation, will receive approximately $65.1 million to accelerate the integration of technology and skills in the region’s agriculture industry—improving productivity and job quality for existing farmworkers while driving a more resilient and sustainable food system. The coalition unites partners such as University of California, Merced, the California Farmworkers Foundation, industry leadership like the California Fresh Fruit Association, regional philanthropy, and local government around a vision for a more innovative, equitable, and resilient agricultural industry in one of the country’s most important food-producing regions. Today, California’s Central Valley produces 25 percent of the nation’s food supply yet has one of the highest food insecurity rates among low wage farm workers. EDA funding will launch iCREATE, a new ag-tech hub, with the mission to accelerate the development and transfer of technology between researchers at local universities and farmers across the region, with a focus on reaching BIPOC or underserved small farmers. At the same time, community colleges throughout the Central Valley will receive access to new technology and training to equip workers with the skills needed to access higher quality, higher paying jobs in ag-tech—improving both farm productivity and wages.