Request for Proposals (rfp)

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Request for Proposals (RFP)
Building Healthy Communities and GreenThumb

Growing Food Capacity

Seeking applications from Community Gardens

Issue Date: December 1, 2016
Response Due Date: January 13, 2017

Reply to: Melissa Stewart (MSTEWART@FPHNYC.ORG)

Released By:


The Fund for Public Health in New York City (FPHNYC), on behalf of the Building Healthy Communities (BHC) initiative and GreenThumb, is currently accepting proposals for community garden groups interested in creating new food-growing community gardens or expanding their capacity to grow and sell food in gardens that are readily accessible by their communities.
Building Healthy Communities, a New York City Mayoral initiative, aims to improve community health outcomes in 12 neighborhoods by increasing access to fresh food, improving opportunities for physical activity, and promoting safe and vibrant public spaces. GreenThumb, a division of New York City Parks and Recreation, provides programming and material support to over 500 community gardens in New York City.
The purpose of this Request for Proposals (RFP) is to identify and support existing GreenThumb gardens and new groups proposing to create GreenThumb gardens in the following communities: Morrisania, Mott Haven, Hunts Point, Brownsville, East Harlem, Two Bridges, Corona, Flushing, Stapleton, Mariner’s Harbor, Bedford Stuyvesant, Canarsie, and Central Harlem. The goal is to support the garden to begin or increase their production of fresh produce in their communities and make these fruits and vegetables available to their communities through farms stands, cooking demonstrations, and/or strategic partnerships. Funding, technical, and material support for the development of community gardens’ food growing/selling capacity will be disbursed by FPHNYC to eligible institutions awarded mini-grants based on their response to this RFP.

  1. Background

BHC’s 12 neighborhoods were chosen for their low access to healthy food and historic lack of investment in parks and open space. Many also bear the heaviest burden of chronic disease and poor health in New York City, including high obesity, diabetes and asthma rates. In these communities, community gardens are often an essential resource for green space and fresh produce, providing gathering spaces, opportunities for outdoor activity, and access to fresh food. Additionally, there is increasing demand for local ownership of the food system and culturally competent cooking education and demonstrations.

Through this RFP, Building Healthy Communities seeks to partner with new groups proposing to create GreenThumb gardens and existing GreenThumb garden groups that are interested in increasing their capacity to improve access to affordable fresh produce grown in community gardens.

  1. Description of Award

FPHNYC will award up to ten grants of up to $5,000 each to community garden groups to expand food growing, selling, and distribution in one or more of 12 focus neighborhoods in NYC. Funding described under this RFP is for activities that must be completed by July 15, 2017. The funding for this award is provided through grants to the Fund for Public Health in New York City from the New York State Health Foundation, Astoria Energy, and Durst Family Foundation. In addition, GreenThumb will provide technical support and work with selected community garden groups to establish sustainable plans for starting new garden or the ongoing expansion of growing and selling produce in subsequent years.

Selected garden groups can use this funding to support the material/infrastructure needs in their community gardens for allowable costs, which include lumber, soil, mulch, compost, seeds and plant material, gardening tools, soil testing, water storage and irrigation systems, marketing supplies, and market infrastructure such as baskets, tables, chairs, tents, scales, etc.
Community garden grants will be made through the following schedule:

  • Up to six (6) grants across Morrisania, Mott Haven, Hunts Point, East Harlem, Brownsville, and Two Bridges

  • Up to four (4) grants across Flushing, Corona, Stapleton, Mariner’s Harbor, Bed-Stuy, Canarsie, and Central Harlem

  1. Eligibility and Requirements

Community garden groups registered with GreenThumb and new groups proposing to create GreenThumb gardens are eligible for this funding. Please note that if you are not yet registered with GreenThumb, but are working towards this goal, you must indicate this in your application’s proposal narrative (Appendix B).

Garden groups may only apply for a single garden in one neighborhood. Multiple gardens in each neighborhood may receive funding depending on the quality of proposals received. It is not guaranteed that one garden per neighborhood will receive funding. In order to be selected under this RFP, a community garden group must be located in the following neighborhoods, as defined by the New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas (NTAs):
Mott Haven, Morrisania, Hunts Point, Brownsville, East Harlem, Two Bridges, Corona, Flushing, Stapleton, Bedford Stuyvesant, Canarsie, Central Harlem. For clarification regarding the exact boundaries of these neighborhoods, please refer to the NTA website, found here:

  1. Selection Criteria and Scope of Project

A selection committee of Building Healthy Communities and GreenThumb staff will select community groups for support and funding through this RFP based on the criteria listed below. Capacities will be judged on the basis of prior experience and plans as demonstrated by the application form.

  1. Applicants must demonstrate a strong desire and plan to increase food production in community gardens, engage residents in purchasing or trying fresh produce, and/or participate in healthy cooking demonstrations.

  2. Applicants must commit to selling or distributing produce grown in garden spaces in small-scale farm stands or free cooking demonstrations in their community. This may be done through strategic partnerships.

  3. All successful applicants/awardees will be required to submit a final report outlining how funding was used with receipts by July 15, 2017.

Scoring Rubric




Background Information

Application includes description of the group (new or existing) and the community in which the garden is/will be located.

Up to 2.5 points for description of group (applicant describes the members of the group and the role the group has or will play)

Up to 2.5 points for description of the community need (applicant has considered potential impact of community garden and it’s benefits to the community)

Plan for Community Engagement and Inclusiveness

Application includes vision for the garden group to address the fresh food needs of its community and includes description of need, ideas for addressing the need, and strategy for opening garden space to increased community involvement.

(15 points)

Up to 5 points for description of need (applicant shows an understanding of the community’s make-up and need for green space/fresh produce).

Up to 5 points for ideas for addressing need (applicant has clear and achievable goal(s) for increasing access to green space/fresh produce through the garden’s creation or expansion).

Up to 5 points for strategy for increased community involvement (applicant has clearly articulated idea(s) for increasing access by the community.)

Plan for Sustainability of the Garden

Application includes a plan for the garden’s sustainability, including a diverse group of stakeholders who continue to maintain and activate the garden space. This also includes strategies to continue investment in the space and offer public engagement opportunities.

(10 points)

Up to 5 points for description of diverse community stakeholders to maintain and activate garden space.

Up to 5 points for plan to fundraise for garden space (this may include grants, community events, crowdfunding, etc.).

Plan for Community Outreach and Marketing

Application includes a description of group’s plan for outreach and marketing in the community.

(5 points)

Up to 5 points for a plan for outreach and communication in broader community about the garden space and fresh produce grows/available. Applicants should consider a wide range of community members.

Plan for Growing Healthy Food

Application includes a plan for growing fresh produce in existing/new garden space (where seeds/plants are sources from, where they are grown, which produce will be grown, etc.).

(10 points)

Up to 10 points for thorough plan for growing healthy foods in the garden space, demonstrating consideration of how the produce will be sourced, grown, maintained, etc.

Plan for Making Food Produced Available

Applicant includes a plan for making food available to members of the community

(10 points)

Up to 10 points for plan for making the food grown in garden space available for community members.


55 Points

Up to 55 points

  1. Support and Funding Process

A Selection Committee comprised of BHC and GreenThumb staff will review the applications and assign a score to each application. The total of these scores will inform the selection of garden groups for funding from the Fund for Public Health in New York City. Garden groups selected for funding will receive funding in one installment, and the amount awarded will depend on the need demonstrated in the application. Awards are expected to be made in the amount of $3,000–$5,000 depending on proposed needs. Material and technical support will be provided by GreenThumb. Documentation of deliverables must be accompanied by an accounting of costs incurred.

Selection Process and Timeframe
The deadline for submission is Friday, January 13, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST. Proposals must be submitted via email as a PDF (Portable Document Format) to Below is a detailed timeline of events related to this Request for Proposals process. Unless otherwise specified, the time of day for the following events will be between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM EST.



Release of Request for Proposals

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Inquiry Period for Questions

December 1–December 13, 2016, 11:59 PM EST

RFP Q&A Responses Posted at

December 16, 2016, 5:00 PM EST

Deadline for Receipt of Proposals

Friday, January 13, 2017, 11:59 PM EST

Notice of Selection

February 2017

Grant Timeline

All activities must be completed by June 30, 2017

Final Report

July 15, 2017

  1. GreenThumb Technical Assistance for Selected Community Garden Groups

In addition to awards, selected gardens may receive free technical support from GreenThumb to help with implementation and expansion. This support is at GreenThumb’s discretion and subject to available resources and is described below.

  1. GreenThumb’s facilitation of sponsorship for community garden groups that need a fiscal conduit.

  2. Support for materials, programming, training, and supplies to make garden groups more sustainable and long-lasting.

  3. Technical assistance to grant recipients by GreenThumb staff.

New forms of support may also be developed in response to needs identified by local community garden groups participating in this effort.

  1. Application Instructions

In order to prepare for your submission in response to this Request For Proposals, please read through all sections of this RFP. Refer to Section III: Eligibility and Requirements to determine if your group is eligible for this RFP.

After determining eligibility, complete each section of the application at the end of this RFP (Appendix A, B and C) with detailed responses to each prompt in the Appendix A: Proposal Narrative section, and save the document as a PDF.
In order for a submission to be considered complete, it must include all of the following documents, formatted as instructed, and emailed as a PDF attachment:

  • A Proposal Cover Letter (Appendix A)

  • A complete Proposal Narrative (Appendix B) of no more than two pages

  • An itemized Project Budget (Appendix C)

  1. Submission Information

  1. Submission Date, Time, and Format

Responses to this RFP must be submitted electronically. Please complete all sections of this application (Appendices A, B, and C) and send all documents in PDF form. Proposals must be e-mailed to the following address, no later than Friday, January 13, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST.

Attn: Melissa Stewart, Grants Assistant

Subject: GreenThumb Growing Food RFP Submission

Responses received after January 13, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST will not be reviewed.

  1. RFP Communications and Q&A

Potential respondents may send any questions or comments to:

Attn: Melissa Stewart, Grants Assistant

Subject: Inquiry: GreenThumb Growing Food RFP

All questions related to this RFP must be received by December 13, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST. Responses to all programmatic and administrative questions will be posted on the FPHNYC website in the FAQ section ( by December 16, 2016 at 5:00 PM EST. No other contact with FPHNYC, DOHMH, or personnel regarding this RFP is permitted in the period between the release of this RFP and the notice of award. Any oral communication shall be considered unofficial and non-binding with regard to this RFP and subsequent award.

  1. General Disclosures

  1. Right to Reject Proposals

The Fund for Public Health in New York City may reject any or all proposals received and may ask for further clarification or documentation. Submitted information that does not respond to all items in this RFP may be excluded from further consideration and alternative information packages may not be considered.
The Fund for Public Health in New York City may decline to review an application in the event the respondent submits a response after the submission deadline and/or any disparity is found during the evaluation process.

  1. Costs

The respondent will be solely responsible for any costs incurred in preparing, delivering, or presenting responses to this RFP. Respondents will not be reimbursed for any costs incurred in preparing proposals.

  1. Fulfillment of Requirements

By submitting an information package, the respondent acknowledges that the respondent has read and understands this RFP and is capable of fulfilling all requirements.

  1. Submitted Information

Once submitted, responses will be the property of FPHNYC and will not be returned.

  1. Right to Amend, Cancel this RFP, or Solicit a New RFP

FPHNYC may amend or cancel this RFP at any time, without any liability to FPHNY, and/or DOHMH. FPHNYC or GreenThumb may solicit new requests for information and/or proposals regarding the services addressed in this RFP at any time.

  1. Amount of Business

FPHNY does not guarantee to any specific amount of business or revenue as a result of this RFP.

  1. Security and Confidentiality

Respondents should give specific attention to the identification of those portions of their proposals that they deem to be confidential, proprietary information or trade secrets and provide appropriate justification for why such materials, upon request, should not be disclosed by FPHNYC. Such information must be easily separable from the non-confidential sections of the proposal. All information not so identified may be disclosed by FPHNYC.

  1. Insurance Certificate and A-133 Audit Information

Selected institutions will need to provide proof of liability insurance (including Worker’s Compensation) and its most recent certified financial audit report (reports prior to 2013 will not be accepted for review), including A-133 Audit, if applicable. For audit years beginning after 12/26/14, an A-133 Audit is required if your organization expends $750,000 in federal funds in the year. For prior audit years the requirement for A-133 was $500,000 in federal funds during a given year.

Appendix A: Proposal Cover Letter

Respondents must complete this Proposal Cover Letter. This form must be signed by an authorized officer of the responding organization. If a section is not applicable, please note this in the space provided.

Organizational Information

Legal Name

DBA Name

Federal Employer Identification Number

Main Address


Year Founded (if known)

Executive Director Name



Project Director Name (if different from Executive Director)




As an authorized officer, I certify that all information provided in this application is correct and accurate to the best of my knowledge.


Name and Title



Appendix B: Proposal Narrative

Please provide detailed responses to the following prompts. In total, your narrative responses should be no longer than two (2) pages, single spaced, with 1-inch margins and 12 point Times New Roman font. The project budget is not included in the two-page limit.

1. Background Information: Is your garden group registered with GreenThumb?

If yes, please list your group’s registered name.

If no, please describe what stage of the registration process you have reached. Please see the following link for reference:
2. Background Information: Describe your garden group’s role and history in the community. Who are the leaders and members of your garden group? What activities do you conduct? Note: if your group is new, describe the role you envision.
3. Background Information: Describe the community in which your garden is or will be located. Why is there a need for expanded food growing and selling capacity in your garden?
4A.Growing Healthy Food: Describe your plans to use a $3,000–$5,000 award. How will your proposed activities impact your community? How will you source and grow food?
4B. Community Outreach and Marketing: Describe your plans to conduct community outreach about the garden and availability of produce. This may or may not relate to your use of funds.
6. Community Engagement and Inclusiveness: How do you plan to engage the broader community in the garden and in the growing/buying of healthy food?
7. Sustainability: How do you plan to sustain the expanded food growing capacity/activities?
8. Making Food Produced Available: What is the plan to distribute the food produced in the garden?

Appendix C: Project Budget

Please provide an appropriate budget of up to $5,000 using the Project Budget form below and include a rationale describing each cost category and the relationship to the project. The budget helps us understand what projects you are interested in completing with the grant and how you plan to allocate the funds.



Cost per Unit

# of Units

Item Total


Ex. Tabletop Planters




Wheelchair accessible planting

















 Total Budget



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