September 14, 2012 -
The City of Knoxville has officially applied for a grant with the 2012 Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge, which offers four $1 million awards and one $5 million award for innovative local solutions to national problems. The City's proposal calls for the creation of an "urban food corridor" in Knoxville.
Video promotion of the City's proposal to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge
Susanna Sutherland, manager of the City's Office of Sustainability, oversaw the City's application process and submitted the online application today. City Council approved a resolution Sept. 4th authorizing Mayor Madeline Rogero to execute documents necessary to apply for the award and to accept the grant should the City of Knoxville's application be chosen.
"This is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of new funding avenues available to us," said Sutherland. "Though this is incredibly competitive, we have an excellent application that has the potential to impact cities nationwide."
The Mayors Challenge encourages cities to identify a need, solve the problem creatively and share the solution so that other cities can benefit. The five most innovative ideas will receive an award and national recognition.
During the process, the City offered residents a chance to submit ideas and, in turn, received more than 50 responses. A selection committee convened to discuss and offer top recommendations. From these, Mayor Rogero selected the idea of an urban food corridor. The proposal for an urban food corridor addresses urban blight and food deserts.
The components of the proposal seek to:
Repurpose vacant urban lots for small-scale food production;
Partner with existing facilities to establish certified kitchens to be used to process food; and
Establish a legal mechanism to enable a business model of food distribution and resale to local establishments.
More than 390 cities in 47 states have applied for the grant. If awarded, Knoxville will work with Bloomberg Philanthropies to complete the grant work within a two-year period.