Andrews University Alum Secures Grant to Support Food Security

Ephraim Palmero will promote collaborations between small businesses and local farmers.

Nicholas Gunn, Andrews University, and Adventist Review
Andrews University Alum Secures Grant to Support Food Security
Ephraim Palmero in front of a community garden. [Photo: courtesy of Ephraim Palmero]

Ephraim Palmero used skills and knowledge gained while studying at Andrews University to secure a grant for the “Seed to Store Project,” which is run by the city of Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. Palmero’s accomplishment shows the positive impact an education can have on one’s community, and it exemplifies the university motto: World Changers Made Here.

Palmero completed his undergraduate studies in pre-law and political science at Andrews University in 2020. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in community and international development (MSCID), graduating in 2022.

Palermo’s path to obtaining the funding began when he took a grant-writing class at Andrews University taught by Carlisle Sutton, who eventually became Palmero’s project advisor.

As a volunteer in AmeriCorps VISTA, a U.S. government program that brings young adults  into community development, Palmero shared, “I wanted to pick something that was specific and could be connected to the work that I’m doing right now. I believe that each and every one of us has the opportunity to bring change in their community.”

With this goal in mind, Palmero chose to prepare a grant proposal supporting the “Seed to Store” program for his grant-writing capstone class project. “Seed to Store” is an initiative of the city of Indianapolis designed to connect small local businesses, including grocery stores, with local urban farmers and community gardens in the region. The project aims to foster collaborations that allow small businesses to source fresh produce from local farmers, particularly those belonging to minority communities, all while addressing food deserts and enhancing access to nutritious food for underserved residents in Indianapolis.

The grant proposal, submitted to the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, was awarded a total of US$129,846 to support “Seed to Store.” The grant will be used to provide subsidies to local grocery stores, enabling them to procure fresh produce from urban farmers. This financial assistance fosters the growth of the local food economy in Indianapolis and promotes collaborations between minority-owned small businesses and local farmers.

The project was selected as one of the recipients of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. This grant aims to support farmers growing specialty crops, which include fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops. The grant contributes to strengthening the specialty crop production and market, ensuring a consistent supply of nutritious produce and fostering innovative research within the specialty crop sector.

Palmero’s accomplishment exemplifies the great impact of education and dedication to community development. His commitment to tackling local food inequities and creating community relationships has made a tremendous difference in Indianapolis, and he continues to serve as an inspiration to others who seek to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

The city of Indianapolis (pop. 866,000; metropolitan area pop. 1.9 million) is approximately three hours south of the Andrews University campus in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

The original version of this story was posted by Andrews University.

Nicholas Gunn, Andrews University, and Adventist Review